David Levinthal was born in San Francisco in 1949 into a rapidly changing post-World War II American society. He earned a degree in management science from the MIT Sloan School of Management (1981), a master's degree in fine arts from Yale University (1973), and a bachelor's degree from Stanford University (1970). He received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 1995 and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1990. Since 1972, he has worked with toy figures and tableaux in his artwork. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, among others. In 1997, the International Center for Photography in New York presented the first retrospective of his work titled David Levinthal: Work from 1977-1996. The George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York, organized the most recent retrospective, David Levinthal: War, Myth, Desire, in 2018. In 2019, the Smithsonian American Art Museum organized American Myth & Memory: David Levinthal Photographs to showcase seventy-four color photographs, created between 1984 and 2018, from two recent gifts to SAAM of more than four hundred photographs by the artist.
American Myth & Memory: David Levinthal Photographs (June 7, 2019-October 14, 2019)