Election Night II
North America, American, New York
20 in. x 24 in. (50.8 cm x 60.96 cm)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, The Blount Collection
Currently On View
© Estate of Jack Levine. Licensed by ARS, New York, NY
Jack Levine has commented on American politics throughout his career. The mechanisms of democracy, rife with opportunities for cronyism, have been prime targets, and in 1954 he treated the theme in Election Night (The Museum of Modern Art, New York). Election Night II is a smaller, less detailed variant of the composition. Levine commented in 1989, “Election Night is the Last Supper—and not the last Last Supper by any means. In this scene, however, there are women present, as there almost always are at these political functions. There’s a haughty matron, a tall statuesque woman in mink with large staring eyes. I was trying to arrive at the female equivalent of some of the terrible men I’d been depicting. I have some fat ladies there too, but I have never painted any of them with a bad complexion; they are always glowing.” The canvas depicts the aftermath of an American political campaign, but the figures’ grim faces counteract an otherwise celebratory air. It is unclear if the politician has won or lost; the compressed space creates an oppressive atmosphere that is heavy with corruption and the unwonted influence of the privileged classes.
American Paintings from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 2006, cat. no. 93, p. 218.