levine_nixon_lbj_vietnam.gifI just briefly wanted to pay homage to the recently passed master cartoonist. Possibly the most recognisable caricaturist of the past 40 years, Levine has come almost to incarnate the discipline, especially with his withering cartoons of the main players in the Nixon administration and of other unsavoury world leaders of that era.

Contrary to assertions I’ve heard made, he was far from single-mindedly, or even reductively, acerbic (his most vicious caricatures are indeed pretty fierce, but are also animated by the kind of outrage necessary to political cartooning); he was rather a finely rounded cartoonist. His portraits are more often than not reverent, humanising their subjects with humor and verve. With thousands of such cartoons under his belt (most of them for the New York Review of Books) he ranks, rather, amongst the most significant portraitists of the last forty years.

Read Michael Kimmelman’s appreciation here.