"Les Amies II," an original oil on canvas by Charles Levier, is a piece for the true collector. Levier's vivid detail projects from the painting, immediately capturing the viewer's attention, highlighting the artist's keen ability to capture emotion, nature, and life - all in a brushstroke. Both the technical talent of Levier and his choice of subject matter pair perfectly with the original carved wood frame and updated archival canvas liner. This masterful work would make a great addition to an art collection and enhance most any home, perfect for those who have an affinity for figurative works, landscapes, seascapes, abstracts, post-impressionism, cubism, and nature.
Levier is most known for his abstracted Post-Impressionistic still lifes, figurative works, cityscapes, landscapes, and harbor paintings. Levier often employs strong, black brushstrokes to outline his subjects. His use of colors shows his mastery of composition, using progressing rich shades of blues, greens, and reds across layers.
Levier frequently employed a Cubist technique. Cubism was developed in France in the teens and the 1920s by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) and Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963). Several artists, like Levier, continued to paint in the Cubist manner well into the 20th century.
You can find our other offerings by clicking on the "View All From Seller" button below or you can contact us for a direct link.
Artist: CHARLES LEVIER (1920-2003)
Title: LES AMIES II (The Friends II)
Medium & Surface: ORIGINAL OIL ON CANVAS (framed)
Signed: HAND SIGNED BY ARTIST LOWER RIGHT AND ON VERSO
Year Created: CIRCA 1960
Country of Creation: UNITED STATES
Image Area Dimensions: 24 x 30 INCHES
Frame Dimensions:* 31.25 x 37.75 x 2.75 INCHES
*This work of art is being sold framed. If you would like to change the frame to better match your style or environment, please contact us for Custom Archival Framing options.
Additional Info: HIGHLY COLLECTIBLE WORK BY CHARLES LEVIER IN EXCELLENT CONDITION CONSISTENT WITH AGE – IN ITS ORIGINAL CUSTOM CARVED WOOD FRAME WITH UPDATED ARCHIVAL CANVAS LINER
Artist Info/Bio: ARTIST BIOGRAPHY DOCUMENT IS INCLUDED
Documentation: CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY BY CALIFORNIA FINE ART BROKERS IS INCLUDED
A piece for the true collector. Charles Levier was prolific in both France and the US. Early in his career, Levier signed paintings using multiple names. He believed that he could market and sell more art under multiple pseudonyms. The following is a quote from the October 28, 1963 episode of “To Tell the Truth” where Levier explains his rationale behind the creation of his pseudonyms. You can view the entire episode on YouTube by searching for Charles Levier.
“I, Charles Levier, decided as a young artist that six artists could sell more pictures than one artist. Consequently, I started painting in six different styles under six different names at six different prices. My paintings began to sell very well indeed. Eventually, keeping track of the careers of five non-existent artists kept the real me in continual confusion. I decided to retire all the made-up names and consolidate the best of each style under one name, my real name. My pictures hang in museums and in the private collections of many famous art lovers, from Ambassador Adlai Stephenson to Frank Sinatra.”
Unfortunately, the vast majority of what you read on the web is incorrect relating to his real name and his aliases.
To put the timing of this TV episode in perspective, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated less than a month after the episode aired. Incidentally, Jackie Kennedy was a dedicated collector of Levier works. After her death in 2004, her daughter Caroline took possession of Jackie’s prized Levier works, making sure they were not auctioned off with the rest of the estate.
Dr. Forest Hinkhouse, a noted art critic and founding member of the Phoenix Art Museum and Phoenix Fine Arts Association reviewed Levier’s work and described him as “a master of art, conceiving and executing each of his paintings with the assurance that comes from a combination of basic, instinctive talent, good taste, and formidable creative energy. He is first and foremost a figurative painter, dramatic and expressionistic, definitive yet seductive, yet always subtle with carefully considered colors.”
Levier was a master of the human figure and had a unique ability to capture complex, realistic human facial expressions. He also painted still lifes, harbor towns, cityscapes, French café and street scenes, and landscapes. Levier’s primary medium was oil, but he used a range of mediums, including watercolor and acrylic. His use of layered textures and strong brushstrokes became one of the artist’s hallmarks.
He was influenced by various schools of discipline, including Pablo Picasso-style Cubism, Realism, and Abstract Post-Expressionism. His subject matter appealed to both French and American audiences, making him a huge success in both places.
Born in Corsica in 1920 (along with his twin brother, Jean-Jérôme) to a French father and American mother, Charles Levié later decided to change his name to Levier to find success from his talent and not ride the coattails of his famous father, a war hero who at age 19 was the youngest to receive the Legion of Honour, the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits. Levier’s mother, Gladys, was a talented painter in her own right, and most certainly was a strong influence in Levier’s artistic pursuits.
At 17, Levier enrolled at L’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs. He studied with André Lhote and Georges Rouault. His early career, however, was halted due to Levier’s military service for the French Army during World War II, where he served primarily in the North African conflict. He skills in English allowed him to become a liaison between the French Army and the US Office of Strategic Services.
After the conflict, Levier decided to set up his studio in the US, while maintaining close ties with France. His career took off in 1949 when he opened his first one man show at the Galerie Constantine in Lyons. He opened his first American show in Los Angeles one year later.
Levier was a favorite artist among the pop culture elite in the US. The rat pack, in particular Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, were major collectors of his work. Other notable collectors included the already mentioned Jackie Kennedy, Baron Edmond de Rothschild, Prince and Princess Pontiatoski, and Peter Lawford.
Levier’s artwork referenced earlier French creations due to its emphasis on cubism. The same design principles were echoed in the mid-century modern movement, making Levier’s art particularly popular during the 1950s and 1960s in the US.
In 1955, his reputation was well established. Two prestigious galleries in Paris and New York held solo exhibitions of his work, the Gallery of the Colosseum and the Lilienfeld Gallery. The famous gallery owner Dr. Lilienfeld took notice of Levier’s work. Dr. Lilienfeld’s taste was widely respected, and his endorsement of Levier catapulted his art career to a new level. Dr. Lilienfeld was such a strong advocate of Levier’s talent and vision that many art historians consider Charles Levier’s broaden success in the US impossible without his support.
Today, Levier’s works remain some of the most sought after and collected in modern art history. His successful career in France and the US gained him a dedicated and loyal global following that continues to support his work. His work can be seen in many museums around the globe, including the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, the Menton Museum of Art in Paris, the Atlanta Museum, the Seattle Museum, and the San Diego Museum.
Charles Levier passed away in 2003 from lung cancer, but his tremendous legacy lives on. His ashes have been placed in the funeral chapel that bears his family name, “Levie and Farinacci,” which is located at the marine cemetery in Ajaccio, Corsica.