Gerald Levey (1930 – 2018) was a nationally recognized marine artist whose work is known for its salty ambiance and authenticity. His spirited seascapes and ship portraits are based on his long professional life at sea as a career naval officer. Enlisting on his 17th birthday, he served as an enlisted man for four years in surface ships before being assigned to the Midshipman program in Columbia. After graduation and commissioning and a tour in a wooden minesweeper, he volunteered for submarine duty. He served in both diesel and nuclear submarines and rose to command of USS SABLEFISH, a diesel attack submarine. After his retirement from the Navy, he continued to work closely with nuclear attack submarines and their crews to develop search and attack tactics. He received the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award for leading the tactical development program for the SSN 688 class nuclear attack submarines.
As a high school art student in Brooklyn, NY, Levey roamed the city’s waterfront, sketching and absorbing atmosphere. His paintings of the final years of the great New York port are particularly vivid and document the working merchant ships and harbor craft of the twentieth century.
He was a frequent exhibitor at the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport Museum where he was awarded the prestigious Rudolph J. Schaefer Maritime Heritage Award in 1985 and the Museum Purchase Award in 1991 at the Mystic International Show. He was an Signature Member and a past officer of the American Society of Marine Artists and has been designated as a Navy and Coast Guard Artist.
Gerry is listed in the Dictionary of Sea Painters, as an authoritative compilation of marine artists of the fifteenth through twentieth centuries. He was also one of 85 featured artists in the 2003 book Bound for Blue Water by J. Russell Jinishian, which is the definitive guide to contemporary American marine art. He was listed in the Brooklyn Artists Index maintained by the Brooklyn Art Museum. Many of Levey’s paintings hang in the wardrooms of naval vessels and in corporate offices of the seagoing community.
Levey’s paintings are in the permanent collections of the Mystic Seaport Museum, the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, the Coast Guard Academy and the Submarine Memorial Museum in the New London area. His work is also in the permanent collections of the Mariners Museum in Newport News, VA, the U.S. Naval Academy Museum at Annapolis, in Boston at the Charlestown Navy Yard Museum and in the Brooklyn Historical Society.