[Graffiti: Chalk Drawing of Figure with Double Pupils, New York City]

Helen Levitt American

Helen Levitt practiced photography with a small handheld camera on the streets of New York, making tender depictions of ordinary city people, especially children. The street was a stage upon which her young subjects played games, performed improvisational dramas, and made fantastic, untutored chalk drawings such as this figure with double pupils and a hovering crown. For Levitt, graffiti and children's drawings were present-day emblems of a precivilized, magical art, both spontaneous and archetypal.

Not on view

Public Domain

Object Details

Artist: Helen Levitt (American, 1913–2009)

Date: ca. 1940

Medium: Gelatin silver print

Dimensions: 20.0 x 13.7 cm (7 7/8 x 5 3/8 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.1073.1

Rights and Reproduction: © Estate of Helen Levitt

Inscription: Signed in pencil on print, verso LR: "Helen Levitt"; inscribed in pencil on print, verso UL to LL [layout marks]: "2 3/8" [arrows to top and bottom edges]"; inscribed in pencil on print, verso UR, UC, C: "65t [crossed out in pencil], "30" [sideways, encircled]", "3 [crossed out and encircled in pencil]" inscribed in blue pencil on print, verso C, LR: "9", "Intro"
Laurence Miller Gallery, NYC

Exhibited in MMA 1940s - 1950s exhibition with title: [Chalk Drawing, New York].
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photographs from the 1940s and 1950s: Selections from the Collection," December 18, 1990–March 17, 1991.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "Helen Levitt," December 19, 1991–March 15, 1992.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Helen Levitt," April 1, 1992–June 28, 1992.

Smithsonian American Art Museum. "Helen Levitt," July 24, 1992–October 18, 1992.

Detroit Institute of Arts. "Helen Levitt," November 11, 1992–January 10, 1993.

Detroit Institute of Arts. "Helen Levitt," November 11, 1992–January 10, 1993.

Art Institute of Chicago. "Helen Levitt," February 4, 1993–May 2, 1993.

Presentation House, Vancouver, Canada. "Helen Levitt," May 31, 1993–July 29, 1993.

Presentation House, Vancouver, Canada. "Helen Levitt," May 31, 1993–July 29, 1993.

Seattle Art Museum. "Helen Levitt," August 20, 1993–October 13, 1993.

Seattle Art Museum. "Helen Levitt," August 20, 1993–October 13, 1993.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts. "Helen Levitt," October 31, 1993–December 12, 1993.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts. "Helen Levitt," October 31, 1993–December 12, 1993.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Helen Levitt," January 6, 1994–March 27, 1994.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Helen Levitt," January 6, 1994–March 27, 1994.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 14," September 9, 1996–December 9, 1996.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 33," September 23, 2002–February 23, 2003.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 51," May 12, 2009–August 30, 2009.

Helen Levitt (53)
Photographs (47,576)