Josephine Frankel Levy with her sculpture The Wrestlers, Federal Art Project, Photographic Division collection, circa 1920-1965, bulk 1935-1942, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution


Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Levy studied sculpture at the Carnegie Institute School of Fine and Applied Arts where she combined her interests in chemistry and ceramics.

She studied at the Art Students League from 1923-1926 with Leo Lentelli, Robert Laurent, and Maine sculptor and painter, William Zorach, and then continued her studies at the National Academy of Design for one year, followed by two years at the Atelier Archpenko. Levy spent 1930-1931 traveling and studying in France and Italy. She spent the summer of 1930 working as a docent at the Louvre. 

In 1934, while working for the Public Works Art Project, Levy was commissioned to do bas-reliefs for the Department of Labor Building in Washington, D.C. She spent the next five years in the Sculpture Division of the WPA in New York. 

Levy exhibited widely in New York with works shown at the Federal Art Gallery, Whitney Museum of American Art, Rockefeller Center, and at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. She also had a one-woman show at XX Century West in 1966. In 1970, Levy received a coveted MacDowell Colony Fellowship.

While working for the Artist’s Union, an organization that advocates for labor rights for creative workers, Levy met painter Murray Hantman. The artists married in the early 1940’s.