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David Levinthal (American, b.1949)
LOT ID: 80854
In the Swim (Ponytail Barbie), 1964

Polaroid
24 х 20 in. (60.96 x 50.8 cm.)
Signed
Lot description
David Levinthal (b. 1949) originally from San Francisco is an American photographer who lives and works in New York. Known as a pioneer of the constructed photograph, David Levinthal has become an explorer of the darker side of the American psyche through his atmospheric tableaux. Themes in his large format photographs use a diversity of compositions, and cover many aspects of American culture building artful yet artificial scenes through the use of small toys. His works are the result of fictitious set constructions whereby he invites the notion of voyeurism. The often hazy or undefined elements in his photographs are part of a deliberate style in which he emphasizes the true nature of a surveillance camera.

His shadowy scenes exude the secrecy and intimacy of small spaces. In turn, this achieves a sense of intimacy for the viewer by creating the experience that they are peering through a window and seeing something private. Additionally, an air of dark romance is created by his use of dim lighting drawing attention to what Levinthal attempts to convey as the solitary urban experience. Even more impressive is how Levinthal suggests all this through scenes which, the viewer is meant to forget, are not real. The artist comments on his use of toys and their effect: “Ever since I began working with toys, I have been intrigued with the idea that these seemingly benign objects could take on such incredible power and personality simply by the way they were photographed. I began to realize that by carefully selecting the depth of field and making it narrow, I could create a sense of movement and reality that was in fact not there.”[wiki]

His body of work is well recognized today and can be found in the public collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
In the Swim (Ponytail Barbie) by David Levinthal
  • In the Swim (Ponytail Barbie) by David Levinthal
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