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Pick of the Day: A brilliant caricature is worth countless words

David Levine, the New York Review of Books illustrator who died last week at 83, was the master caricaturist of his generation. For five decades, Levine's drawings of the powerful -- all rendered with huge heads and less-than-flattering noses, intricately etched worry lines and brooding five o'clock shadows -- captured the epic dramas of their times. None may be more iconic than Levine's vision of LBJ lifting his shirt to show a gall bladder scar in the shape of Vietnam. Nixon, who got the Levine treatment 66 times, became the Godfather. Commie-hunting Joe McCarthy was the wicked witch, aloft on his broom.

"When he began, there was very little political caricature, very little literary caricature," Jules Feiffer, the cartoonist and a Levine friend, told the New York Times. "He revived the art."

The New York Review has created a gallery to honor Levine.


By Paul Schwartzman  | January 4, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  
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