Nudes: An Artist's Inquiry 1962-2012 by Eli Levin
Eli Levin is best known for his second generation Social Realist paintings. These have often included nudes, as for example, in striptease scenes and images of gender politics. Throughout his career he has painted nudes in many other contexts as well. In this book Levin presents an extended meditation on the practice of painting nudes.
In his introduction Levin discusses the many reasons nudes have been painted, citing both famous and forgotten examples. He considers modern criticism from Feminists and recent theories that deconstruct the ''Male Gaze.'' Captions to the images develop themes in the introduction and provide personal anecdotes from Levin's life and career.
The 144 color images of his paintings that feature nudes are culled from a fifty-year period of work. The images are grouped into five sections, largely chronologically: Disturbing Nudes, Mostly Couples, Nudes from Life, Myths, and Contemplative Nudes.
He also offers numerous images of relevant nudes from the history of art with informative captions. As a boy, Levin lived with his parents in a nudist colony near Chicago. During his teenage years and as a young man he studied drawing and painting from nude models.
Three of his teachers in New York - Phillip Reisman, George Grosz, and Raphael Soyer - were Social Realists known for their figurative work. He served as the daily monitor of Soyer's figure-drawing group for two years and later studied anatomy with Robert Beverley Hale at the Art Student's League.
Eli Levin has been a dear friend for over 30 years. Full disclosure: I'm in this book.
Paperback book 2018