Diane (Andy) Levy’s fluid lines and bold use of color can be appreciated in her renditions of still lifes, children, friends, studio models and fanciful depictions of musicians, dancers, and figures derived from dreams. Her paintings as well as her line drawings in ink, ink wash, and pastel evoke comparisons with Chagall, Matisse, and Picasso.
Her early paintings reflect the influence of her studies at UC Berkeley, where her teacher was the renowned painter Margaret O’Hagan Peterson, whose work was informed by the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest and her studies with Hans Hofmann.
As Andy developed as an artist, her work became less abstract and more representational, her subjects were often imagined or based on quick sketches of people she observed in cafes or on the street. While many of the still lifes were made in her middle years, the more imaginative paintings in this collection were made towards the end of her life.
During Andy’s lifetime, her work was exhibited in Bay Area cafes and galleries and was lauded by other contemporary artists. Her reputation as a painter was enhanced by her role as an arts educator.
The value of owning one of these paintings lies in its aesthetic merit as well as in its association with a woman dedicated to bringing art to children. In the 1960s, in conjunction with the Peter Maurin House, Andy established a storefront child art studio in West Oakland where children came to paint and use other art materials free of charge. In the early 1970s, she founded the San Francisco Children’s Art Center, still in operation today at Fort Mason and now serving more than 600 children in San Francisco each year, both in Head Start preschools and in the San Francisco Unified School District.