Commissions for Office near Carnegie Hall

Commission a Painting

Commissioning a painting is a great way to acquire artwork for your specific needs. I have worked with patrons throughout the country to provide original oil paintings that suit their budgets and size requirements.

Recent Commission of “Madison Square Park” for offices above Carnegie Hall

So, how does this process work? Communication.

Step 1) Typically patrons contact me communicating something to the effect of, “We like your work, we see most of it is sold, we were wondering if you had any paintings of (their interest)”  i.e. Madison Square Park, Tribeca, etc.. You can use the commission form to the right to begin this contact.

Commissions Installed - West Village - New York City

Portrait Commission – West Village – New York City

Step 2) We have a phone call or email to discuss their specific commission. The patron explains their interest in more detail. For example, “We have an office on Union Square and have a large space where we would love to have a painting.”

Installed Commission - 37"x54" Oil on Canvas 2010

Two recent commissioned paintings of Madison Square Park – Private Client.

Step 3) I provide several samples – usually in the form of photographs of locations around the area discussed – of compositions I am drawn to along with the price and size of the canvas we are to work on. When the location, size and price are agreed to a contract is drawn up. It provides the payment schedule, the time schedule and other details about framing, shipping and insurance.

Commission of White Street, Tribeca

“White Street” Tribeca – New York – Private Commission

I welcome inquiry’s for commissions from new patrons. Fill out the form below with a brief description of you interest and I will email you to begin the discussion. If you have any questions not answered here feel free to send those along too. Thank you. Simon Levenson

Aviva Stone – Series Available

A series of 9 – 8″x8″ charcoal drawings of the locally famous figure model Aviva Stone. This series is available as a single piece. Each image is matted, framed and signed. If you have any questions or would like to inguire about the price, please fill out the form below. Thank you.

Aviva Stone, 9 - 8"x8" drawings, Charcoal on Acid Free Paper 2007

Aviva Stone Series Installed

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Flatiron, Oil on Board, Cover, City Journal Spring 2009

City Journal Cover

On the cover: Simon Levenson’s Sunset(2009), one of a triptych of oil paintings of the Flatiron Building in New York City. For more information about Levenson’s work, consult or call Bottoms Fine Art at (805) 695-0888. Courtesy of the artist.


Illuminated Manuscript Show at The Morgan Library

There is a fantastic show at The Morgan Library on Madison Avenue in New York City of; The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, “the most important and lavish of all Dutch manuscripts as well as one of the most beautiful among the Morgan’s collection.”

I have long been a big fan of illuminated work from the middle ages and rennaisance. This is, as is stated above,the most lavish of the Dutch masters. The work is incredibly intricate and small but contains worlds of imagination, devotion and visual political rhetoric. For instance the last page of the manuscript has god granting Catherine, the commissioner of the book, entrance into heaven.

The book that is on display, (the pages have been broken up so they can be viewed one by one) is what is called a “book of hours.” It symbolizes the prayer ritual one should do during each hour of the day and each day of the week. In the morning upon waking, pray this prayer, in mid morning this one etc… on Friday pray this one and on Saturday this one.

Every border of this enormous volume is unique. No two are alike. As with all books from this date 1500’s and earlier, the work is highly inventive. The patterns in the background work is both extremely graphic and appears to my eye very modern. These patterns could be fabrics walking through the fashion district in New York City today, if the wearer were lucky. The compositional design is freer than any work that came after it until French poster work of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The only limit to how images are laid out and presented to the viewer is the imagination of the creator.

The level of craft is unmatched today. That is right, I am saying that there is no one in any field on the earth today who is as capable of creating such a piece of work. If anyone reading this believes otherwise I would love them to send me information on such items that are being created today.

A trip to The Morgan Library is always worthwhile but this show, along with the two other shows that opened the same day, Rome After Raphael and Flemish Illumination in the Era of Catherine of Cleves make the trip even better.

New Gouache Section

I have been working with the medium of Gouache recently and I have to say I have been having a blast with it. I have been adding oil pastel, charchoal, pencil and ink. This is the most recent endeavor as I plan for a show in September at Bottoms Fine Art  Gallery in Santa Barbara, California.

Gouache, Pencil, Charcoal  on Board, 10x17, 2009

Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages

The Metropolitan Museum has put on another amazing drawing show. This one is called; Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages.

So many things about this show had a great influence on me but I will try to name just a few. The first is the intimacy of the work. Viewers must lean nose-close to the glass encased books to absorb all the rich details and incredible craftsmanship on display. It is hard to comprehend, to my modern mind, the level of graphic knowledge, creativity and daring the artisans practiced. Perhaps the sum total of our current knowledge is less than a fraction of what has been lost since the masters worked.

As an artist who loves to draw, I was overjoyed with the fact that drawing and writing, held such an important place in the Middle Ages. Drawing reached an amazing height in Renaissance, Italy but was not considered an art in itself. It was more of a trade secret closely guarded, where masters worked out problems for sculpture, architecture and painting. It is a modern notion that a drawing can be a masterpiece in itself and hung on a wall as a piece of art. Yet in the Middle Ages, drawings held a very important place in book and print arts, illuminating and illustrating stories, from creation tales to astrology. It is so moving to connect through the love of this craft with those from so long ago.

Finally, the inventiveness in both technique and subject matter is quite frankly “wild”. There is no limit to the unbelievable graphic daring to the images. Note the picture of the descendants of Jesus. This reminds me of Americana art, Folk art, African art, or Naive art. As far as subject matter, the show is filled with wild astrological imagery mixed with religious work which was a surprise to me. But as a student of basic anatomy I fell in love with these wonderful images. Which reminds me of something I read by DaVinci, claiming that the sixth sense, was where the other five senses met up and were processed and this sense was called the common sense as it was made of all the others.

The images show a completely different world, and understanding of the world. I was transported in my imagination to monks quarters where they toiled by candle or day light creating the masterpieces that many hundreds of years later still speak to your eyes like a whisper does to your ears. What I would give to flip the pages of these amazing books often containing almost five hundred pages but only revealing one in this special show.

Rare Gouache Painting Available

This is a new gouache and pencil on cardboard I did during a week of studying the artist Toulouse Lautrec. Most artists know of his work. I am surprised how many non-artist are not familiar with him. He was portrayed by John Leguizamo in the movie Moulin Rouge.

Unfortunately, Lautrec is often though of as a lesser Degas, since there are some stylistic overlaps in their line quality. I am more interested in Lautrec and consider him a great artist in his own right.

Under the Influence 18"x24" Gouache and Pencil on Cardboard 2009

New Painting At National Arts Club Show

I will be showing a new painting, How to Tell Your Son It’s Time to Go at The National Arts Club, Roundtable show. The show runs from Monday April 6th through Friday April 17th. If you have questions about the galleries hours, call 212-475-3424.

How To Tell Your Son It's Time To Go, Oil on Canvas 12"x36", 2009

Stunning Show at Metropolitan Museum

Stunning Drawing Show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

There are many reasons I feel blessed to be a New Yorker. The current drawing show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Raphael to Renoir: Drawings from the Collection of Jean Bonna January 21, 2009–April 26, 2009, is one of those reasons.

I discovered the show by accident, while at the museum to draw my own pictures. The work in this show contains many Italian drawings of the absolute highest quality. Among them are numerous studies of figures that were to later be used in paintings. They are subtle and moving and at the time were guarded as trade secrets. What an insight for any modern day artist to see all that these masters hid from their contemporaries.

There were two pieces that surprised me because I liked them so much. The first is the Wild Boar Piglet done on soft opaque velum paper. It is what I imagine is life size for a wild boar piglet though I have never seen one. The little creature has such a personality the viewer simply wants to pick it up.

Wild Boar Piglet, Hans Hoffman, 1578

The second image, just the left of this one in the exhibition, is a botanical study, which I am usually not interested in. I admit I do not remember who painted it but what I was amazed with was the vibrancy of the colors. Several hundred years old, this watercolor, gouache painting on paper, is vibrant and deep, inviting and compelling. It is always refreshing to see a work that leaps off the page as if it were just created, after all that time has passed. It makes one feel there is a continuum of moments that is not lost or separated now matter how much time has elapsed.

There are also several Dutch drawings, including some by Van Gogh and Rembrandt. The Rembrandt drawing is tiny, maybe 4″x6″ inches if that. Yet this little landscape with a building in it at the end of a path conveys a great sense of depth from its dark line and perspective, lightness from the mark making of a few leaves of grass ,and gravity that a man can move the viewer so much with so little. This drawing shows the artist is master, not because people tell you he is but because he is able to do in a few lines what great amounts of mediocre art can not do with vast amounts of work.

Another stunning drawing is A Man in a Turban attributed to the Circle of Giovanni Bellini. I am not sure I need to write what I find so moving about this drawing as you can click on it below and see for yourself. Truly a subtle, powerful work.

Man in a Turnban, Circle of Giovanni Bellini

As you could imagine, I recommend this show highly. Do not run in with ten minutes to spare and your cell phone ringing. This is an entirely different mindset than that. Prepare to lean in, closely and intimately to view these little gems which offer so much in return for the attention.