Art: City Boy

The critics have called lean-faced, Boston-born Jack Levine, 35, one of the half-dozen liveliest young painters in the U.S. Some of Levine's own words for himself are "romantic humanitarian," "editorial" artist, "social" artist. In a crowded Back Bay gallery last week, gallerygoers at Levine's first big show got a chance to see for themselves what all the words meant.

The show proved that Levine was certainly a lively painter. His composition was clever and his colors bright. Occasionally, when the editorial mood hit him too hard, he began wagging his brush. Then the result was little better than partisan cartooning, e.g., a...

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