Works from the Bradley Family Foundation Collection: The Paintings of Leo Michelson

November 24, 2012 - January 27, 2013

Leo Michelson exhibition

Leo Michelson, born into Riga’s largely assimilated Jewish community in 1887, created the eight paintings on view in the early 1950s after surviving two world wars, arriving in New York (he became an American citizen in 1945) and entering into a late and happy marriage. Seven of the paintings reflect his love of Paris—his wife was French, he had established his studio in Paris in the 1930s and he had become a French citizen before fleeing the Nazis—and Venice; the eighth, from 1954, is one of a lifelong series of portraits of flowers, a subject that he approached with renewed energy in his late 60s and 70s. Michelson was fascinated by light in motion, and developed a technique of fixing powdered color in superimposed layers to create a surface that resembles fresco or pastel. These eight exuberant works are luminously yellow, with scenes sketched atop the mass of color or forms outlined in fluid black lines. Other artists hung throughout the first floor of the house include Marcel Gromaire (whom Michelson encountered in Paris between the wars), André Brasilier, and Marino Marini.

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