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Ben Levene RA (1938-2010)

Gerald Philip Levene, RA (1938-2010), known as Ben Levene

Ben Levene took a highly independent approach to painting. As a result, he produced many exquisite, intimate still life compositions, interiors and landscapes, and inspired a generation of artists through his teaching.

Known as Ben Levene from his schooldays, Gerald Levene was born in London on 23 December 1938, the son of Mark Levene and his wife, Charlotte (née Leapman). During the Second World War, his father became incapacitated when an ammunition lorry exploded. His mother then became the main breadwinner, managing a tobacco kiosk in Queensway, and later working in the accounts department of Dickens and Jones.

At the age of 11, Ben Levene fell off his bicycle and fractured his ankle; while he was recovering in hospital, his Aunt Ethel brought him paints and a sketchbook, so instigating an interest in art. He was encouraged in this by Max Flett, his art master at St Clement Danes Grammar School, Hammersmith, and he developed rapidly.

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