Etchings and Paintings

Eli Levin, A Brief Biography

 Eli Levin has been a realist painter throughout his career. Much of his subject matter is narrative social comment, with major work in still life, landscape and the nude as well.  Additionally, he devoted an eight year period to interpretation of ancient Greek myth. 


While the greater part of Levinís work is in the medium of egg tempera, he is prolific in oils, watercolors and intaglio printmaking.


Levin is well known in Santa Fe for his open-studio hosting of weekly drawing groups (one has met continuously since 1969) and of the Santa Fe Etching Club, initiated in 1981.



1938          Born in Chicago, IL to Meyer Levin, author, and Mabel Schamp, Communist,   

                  PhD chemist and university professor; grew up in Manhattan, New York.


1956          Attended Music and Art High School; raised in a milieu of leftist intellectualism; influenced

                  by the artistic movements of Social Realism and Regionalism.


1958          Attended Brandeis University.


1960          Attended The New School for Social Research; daily painting from the model; instruction by

                  Raphael Soyer; daily proximity to murals by Orozco and Benton.


1960-62     Attended the Boston Museum School; was asked to leave over his 

                  commitment to Realism.


1964          Moved to New Mexico.


1965-66     Attended Wisconsin University, received M.A. in Art.


1966-on     Permanent residence in Santa Fe; numerous exhibitions in local galleries.


1981          Establishes the Santa Fe Etching Club with patronage from print collector Dr. Robert Bell,

                  an etching facility for Santa Fe printmakers working in his studio.


1985-88     Extended visits to New York for winter classes in artistís anatomy with Robert Beverley

                  Hale at the Art Studentís League.


1989-91    Attended St. Johnís College, received second M.A. in Liberal Arts.


1993          Changed name to Jo Basiste, after his paternal grandfatherís before immigration. 

                  Initiated a lengthy series of paintings after Greek mythology

                  which would occupy him for eight years.


2000          Major retrospective exhibit at the Las Vegas Art Museum, Las Vegas, NV., 

                  with over 120 paintings and an extensive catalog. Began a stylistic return to

                  social realist themes, painting again under the name Eli Levin. Sold Santa Fe home, 

                  moved to rural Dixon, N.M. while maintaining a Santa Fe studio.


2003          The book Scenes of Santa Fe Night Life published by Bell Tower Editions, a

                  collection of Levinís intaglio work.


2007          The book Santa Fe Bohemia, the Art Colony 1964-1980 published by

                  Sunstone Press; a memoir, written by Levin, of the early Santa Fe art scene.


2008          Opens new studio on Canyon Road in Santa Fe to expand the Santa Fe Etching Club,   

                  offering public access.


2011          With Argos Gallery, opens new expanded community etching studio for local

                  printmaking (with continued patronage from Robert Bell), and for drawing from the model.


2012          Publishes Disturbing Art Lessons, a memoir of his art education; book signing features a

                  retrospective exhibit at Argos Gallery.


2013          Museum exhibit at the Harwood Foundation in Taos surveying Levin's intaglio printmaking.




Selected solo exhibits in New Mexico since 1964:


Jamison Gallery, 1972

St. Johns College, 1973

Ernesto Mayans Gallery, 1978-1983

Governorís Gallery, 1984

Zaplin Lampert Gallery, 1988

Frank Croft Fine Art, 1989-1994

The Cline Gallery, 1992

Wiggins Fine Art, 1996

Retrospective at Las Vegas Art Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2000

Sara Smith Contemporary, 2002-6

Eldridge, McCarthy Gallery, 2001-5

Argos Etchings and Paintings, 2007--2013


Museum Collections


Archives of American Art, Washington D.C.

Fine Arts Museum, Santa Fe, N.M.

Roswell Museum, Roswell, N.M.

Harwood Foundation, Taos, N.M.

New Mexico University Museum, Albuquerque, N.M.

Museum of Fine Arts, Cleveland, OH

Arizona State University Fine Arts Museum

Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ