Edgar Levy is remembered as an artist of firm convictions, as well as a lively and articulate thinker. Levy was an unusually inquisitive man. As a young art student he secured an attendant’s job at the Harlem Hospital autopsy room in order to study anatomy. Later in life he studied advanced mathematics at Columbia and attended international scientific conferences in Europe. Levy’s lively intellect and interest in art led him to study at the Art Students League under Jan Matulka.
There he formed lifelong associations and friendships with George McNeil, Dorothy Dehner, Irene Rice Pereira, David Smith and Lucille Corcos. He also met and was influenced by John Graham. John Graham, himself lionized by a generation of painters, wrote in his System and Dialectics of Art that Levy was one of “the young outstanding American painters” of that time. Over the years his closest friend was David Smith, with whom he occasionally shared studio space. Levy married the gifted painter Lucille Corcos and they moved to Brooklyn Heights where their circle of friends included Adolph Gottlieb, Smith and Dehner, Lois Shanker and Mark Rothko. Levy exhibited “by invitation” with “The Ten.” In fact, Levy was among those American artists who most thoroughly articulated the basis for what would become Abstract Expressionism, Levy’s work embraced Cubism, Fauvism, and Expressionism to the struggle between abstraction and non-objective painting.