Thursday, February 02, 2006

Herschel Levit (1912-1986)

In the 1976 edition of "Who's Who in American Art", Herschel Levit is described as "painter, illustrator". Ten years later, in the 1986 edition, the year Levit died, he is described as "photographer, historian". Levit was also an author ( he both wrote and illustrated a book called "Just Point" ), muralist ( The Rowan School in Philadelphia, Recorder of Deeds building in Washington, US Post Office building in Leisville, Ohio & Jenkintown ) and teacher ( at both Pratt and Parsons ).

His work was exhibited at both the Met and the Whitney museums in New York, at Columbia University, the Chicago Institute of Fine Art, and the Boston Museum of Fine Art, among others.

I can't tell you if this terrific portrait, a bit reminiscent of the album cover art being done at that time by David Stone Martin, is typical of Levit's style, because I was unable to locate any other examples of his work.


  1. Anonymous1:34 PM

    Herschel and Janice Levit were family friends when I was growing up in NYC. The portrait of Belafonte I would say is typical of his album-cover style as I remember it. He also illustrated books in a similar style including, as I recall, a children's book about the winged horse Pegasus from Greek mythology. There are also echoes of this style in his original art work. He was a superb photographer, I visited his home studio, and I own a copy of his photograph of the head of Michaelangelo's Moses. He was a very kind and gentle man, and I remember him fondly.

  2. Thank you so much, anonymous, for filling some more background details on Levit for us.

  3. I've uploaded some amateurish photos I've taken of Herschel Levit's wonderful and evocative album cover for the 1953 Vox recording of Bruckner's 4th symphony, Otto Klempere conducting the Vienna Symphony Orchestra in 1951, the fastest Bruckner 4 on record.


  4. Ken forgot to give you the address he upload the Herschel Levit photo to:

  5. Try again:

  6. Driving me mad trying to get this full URL for my Herschel Levit picture. I'll try it manually:

    With any luck, you can view four attempts to photo the Herschel Levit record sleeve there!

  7. He did a splendid, moving, imaginative painting of Beethoven which is on the 1967 Cardinal LP of Beethoven's String Quartet #15 played by the Yale Quartet.

  8. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Is anyone monitoring this thread anymore? My late husband's aunt was married to Hershel and I have a number of his pieces.