Content sponsored by Chuck Cady and Associates
Sunday, April 19
7710 196th St. SW. Unit A
What if you could unlock the door of your home, take a deep breath, drop your car keys on the console in the hallway, and enter another world? Maybe a world of drama – that brought to mind the open seas, the bluster of salt-air winds, transporting you back to yesteryear? Or imagine placing yourself in a vista panorama, gazing into yet-unknown horizons?
What if you could be lulled to sleep by the calming blues of sleep nymphs and fanciful verse? Imagine the delights that might be derived from creating home-cooked meals as you enjoy pastoral scenes of a wholesome farm life?
Such were the artful landscapes that Edmonds resident Sam Levinson was able to enjoy before his death this past December.
Described by his son Robert as an “interesting and unusual fellow” Sam Levinson was able to create another world within the expanse of his own elegant home, thanks to the renowned skill of muralist Andy Eccleshall, whom he befriended, and commissioned over the years to paint four private-residence murals on the walls of his condominium at 7710 196th St. SW Unit A.
This “small-time patron of the arts” as described by his son, commissioned large-scale private murals by Eccleshall that are now being sold as part of the Levinson estate.
The condo is listed for sale with Ann Babb-Nordling, managing broker of Re/MAX Northwest, who explains that the Eccleshall murals are exactly the feature that would make a property advance on any prospective buyer’s list because of the character and quality it adds to one’s home.
Gallery owner Denise Cole of Cole Gallery (107 5th Ave. S.) commented on the significance of having an Eccleshall private mural collection included in an Edmonds area residence now for sale: “Andy Eccleshall is one of the most recognized and acclaimed artists in Edmonds!”
How did a “small-time patron of the arts” become such a fan of an artist described as “acclaimed” by the owner of one of Edmonds cornerstone galleries? The story begins with a Bronx, N.Y., native and WWII veteran: After the war, Sam Levinson moved to California and became an entrepreneur in retailing plus-size women’s clothing. In 1990 Mr. Levinson relocated to Seattle, and in 2006 he moved to Edmonds.
His intellect is reflected in his passion for ancient history and Judaica. According to his son, Mr. Levinson once admitted that if his life “would have taken a different turn, he would have opted to be a professor.”
In his retirement years, Mr. Levinson read quite a bit. His reading included non-fiction; fiction, particularly mysteries; and the New York Times. He audited classes at the UW that included art history, theatre, ancient/modern history, architecture, and comparative religion. “His joys included his grandkids and feeding the birds,” his son tells My Edmonds News in an exclusive interview.
He added: “My dad also spent time fending marauding squirrels off the bird feeders,” which Artfully Edmonds can easily imagine, considering the lush woodlands that comprise the backyard of the condo.
But how does such an unassuming gentleman come to befriend one of the most recognized muralists in Edmonds?
To answer that question, we were able to contact Andy Eccleshall (AE) for a My Edmonds News (MEN) interview:
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MEN: How did you come to know Sam Levinson in the first place?
AE: After I had painted one of the murals in Edmonds, I got a call from Pat Brier, a member of the Edmonds Mural Society, who said she had been contacted by someone looking for a muralist. She gave me Sam’s number and I went over and met with him. Sam wanted a mural above his fireplace and had a very specific idea in mind. He recalled a painting by Asher Durand of the Hudson River School, called “Kindred Spirits”. He said the picture made him feel relaxed and serene and looked like somewhere he would like to go. This was the first mural I painted for him.
While at first I found Sam to be somewhat abrasive ( a first impression I think many had), I quickly realized that beneath the gruff exterior was a kind and generous man and we struck up a friendship.
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MEN: Over how many years (and what period of time?) did Mr. Levinson commission the murals in his home?
AE: Over the next couple of years I would pick him up once a month or so and take him for coffee and donuts at Edmonds Bakery. His driving skills were not what they used to be so I would take him for a drive around the area to see neighborhoods or views that perhaps he hadn’t seen before. Over this period he came up with other ideas for artwork in his home. The ideas were always his, from the Cutty Sark mural in the dining area to the bucolic mural of cattle on the kitchen wall. These were things that he wanted to look at, things that made him feel good.
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MEN: Is it unusual for someone to have four of your murals in their home?
AE: Four murals might be a little unusual to have in one space. I might suggest that it would be a little overwhelming but it’s what Sam wanted and at the age of 90 I figure you have the right to have what you want. And he was a pleasure to work with. Very certain of what he wanted.
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MEN: Whose poem is featured in the master bedroom mural?
AE: I’m not sure where the poem came from. The mural in the bedroom was a request he made as he had trouble sleeping and in some way he thought that the image and poem would help sleep.
Although I only knew Sam for a relatively short time, and there’s an entire life time of history that I didn’t know, I enjoyed getting to know him. I enjoyed his stories of growing up in Brooklyn and New York. He had wonderful stories of his travels across the country to California, and of his business ventures.
He was sharp and witty and (as they say in England – and I’m not sure you can publish this -) “full of piss and vinegar”, which means firey, bullish. I enjoyed that aspect of his personality greatly. And I miss him.
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My Edmonds News and Artfully Edmonds would like to thank the gracious generosity of Andy Eccleshall for taking time out of his busy schedule for this interview.
Inquires about this property can be directed to Ann Babb-Nordling at 206-528-4436.