The Da Vinci of Caricaturists

David Levine (b. 1926) was the Leonardo Da Vinci of caricaturists (although Da Vinci was himself also a caricaturist). He died yesterday at the age of 83.
 
Levine left a slew of iconic “charged portraits,” but for me none was more acerbic and witty than the one above of Richard Nixon as the fictitious Lt. Commander Queeg, the paranoid captain of a ratty World War II mine-sweeper in the film The Caine Mutiny (played by Humphrey Bogart). Levine’s conflation of an equally paranoid president and the naval officer was just one of the astute metaphors during the Watergate era that typified his life’s work. As I think of Levine’s contribution to political art and social commentary, this image speaks much louder than those proverbial 1,000 words.
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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

3 thoughts on “The Da Vinci of Caricaturists

  1. elwoodhsmith

    Oh, I am so sorry to hear that America’s greatest caricaturist has left us. I didn’t know David well, but Maggie and I had several wonderful visits with him & Kathy. He was a master of line and his watercolors were breathtaking.

    -Elwood

  2. elwoodhsmith

    Oh, I am so sorry to hear that America’s greatest caricaturist has left us. I didn’t know David well, but Maggie and I had several wonderful visits with him & Kathy. He was a master of line and his watercolors were breathtaking.

    -Elwood

  3. elwoodhsmith

    Oh, I am so sorry to hear that America’s greatest caricaturist has left us. I didn’t know David well, but Maggie and I had several wonderful visits with him & Kathy. He was a master of line and his watercolors were breathtaking.

    -Elwood

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