Chris Levine's fascination with the perception of light and the role it plays in our experience of the world has produced his quintessential lightbox portraits of celebrity sitters - most notably the Queen of England. Buy and sell original prints and editions by leading artist Levine. We can value your print for free with zero obligation to sell and offer market advice on any work in Levine's portfolio.
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Best known for his 2004 portrait of the Queen, Chris Levine’s works are unique in their combined use of light and photography. Working across multiple mediums, from photography to lazer to hologram, Levine seeks to use light and meditation to explore an ‘expanded state of perception and awareness’, creating environments or capturing subjects on a different plane.
Born in 1960 in Ontario, Canada, Levine graduated from Chelsea School of Art and later Central St. Martins with an MA in Computer graphics. Since he can remember, he was always fascinated with holograms and knew from a young age that he wanted to create for a living, whether as a designer, musician or artist. Influenced by his father who was an engineer, and his mother who painted, the artist has described himself as a child who was interested in science and always drawing. After graduating, Levine started creating holograms commercially, but soon realised that he wanted to make his own work, he wanted to make art.
Levine’s success is well attested by the number of high-profile commissions he has been entrusted with. From Grace Jones to the Dali Lama, from Queen Elizabeth II to Kate Moss, it seems everyone wants to be the subject of a Chris Levine work.
It was at the turn of the millennium that Levine found his now instantly recognisable aesthetic, when he discovered meditation. After spending ten days at a retreat in Kathmandu, Levine decided to incorporate meditation into his art: 'Increasingly my work has been informed directly out of meditation. Stillness is a portal to the divine, and by taking my subjects towards stillness, it allows for a more soulful connection with the subject, and that light radiates in the work.'
This meditative quality is most pronounced in his famous portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Lightness of Being. Depicting The Queen with her eyes closed, the artist captures a moment of meditative calm. An unexpected by-product of a commission to commemorate the Isle of Jersey’s 800th year of allegiance to the crown, the portrait required The Queen to sit still for eight seconds at a time, while a moving camera captured 200 images per second as it moved around its subject. During takes Levine encouraged the Queen to rest and it was during this time that the image for Lightness of Being was captured.
Today, Levine’s works fetch high values at auction, with original artworks selling for six figure sums. He has exhibited globally at London’s National Portrait Gallery and Science Museum, has staged exhibitions in spaces such as Radio City in New York commissioned by MoMA, The Eden Project, The Royal Opera House, and many more.
Image © Sotheby's / Lightness Of Being © Chris Levine 2004
A photographic ‘outtake’ and part of a larger-scale holographic depiction of Queen Elizabeth II, Lightness Of Being (2004) realised £187,500 at auction in April 2017, more than doubling its pre-sale estimate of £50,000-£70,000. This sale, which took place at Sotheby’s auction house in London, made the work the most expensive piece by UK-based Chris Levine to-date.
Working in an interdisciplinary fashion, Levine is well-known for harnessing the many representational powers of light. In this piece, Levine portrays the Queen – an iconic ‘image’ in her own right – with her eyes closed in a moment of pause and reflection.
Image © Sotheby's / Lightness of Being © Chris Levine 2008
Sitting at the top two of Levine’s record sales is yet another majestic yet unexpected portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The portrait is an outtake from a project Levine began working on in 2004, when the Jersey Heritage Trust commissioned the artist to create the first holographic portrait of the Queen to mark the Island of Jersey’s 800 years of allegiance to the Crown. Working in the drawing room at Buckingham Palace, Levine encouraged Her Majesty to rest in between takes. The moment was captured in what is by now perhaps the most famous representation of the reigning monarch, Lightness of Being (2008), and was turned into a holographic work in 2008.
In 2022, Levine donated the artwork to Sotheby’s London to benefit the Platinum Jubilee Pageant. The work went under the hammer on 29 June 2022 and sold for £151,200, making it the second most expensive Levine work to be sold on the market.
Image © Sotheby's / Lightness Of Being (Pink) © Chris Levine 2015
The third-most expensive work by UK-based light-based artist Chris Levine, Lightness Of Being (Pink) is one of a number to depict Queen Elizabeth II. An ‘outtake’ from a larger-scale hologram-based work first completed by Levine in 2004, in September 2018 the piece realised £150,000 at Sotheby’s auction house, London. A silkscreen print complete with hand applied Swarovski crystals, the work smashed the upper-bound of its pre-sale estimate by £50,000 and depicts the monarch with her eyes closed; a vision of pause and tranquillity. The work reflects Levine’s keen interest in Tibetan Buddhism and meditation.
Image © Sotheby's / Lightness Of Being © Chris Levine 2008