Born in Bangladore, India, in 1933 Michael Leonard studied graphic design and illustration at St. Martin’s School of art in London from 1954 to 1957, after which he worked as an illustrator. Leonard first exhibited as a painter in 1972 and has subsequently and numerous one-person exhibitions, in London at Fischer Fine Art and Thomas Gibson Fine Art and in New York at Forum Gallery. He his work has also been included in various selected group exhibitions in the United States, Europe and Canada.
Michael Leonard’s figure compositions are an interplay of solids and voids with a contrast of figurative representation and abstraction. His painting contain complex arrangements of torsos, limbs and arms. Dynamism derives from the design of his paintings and the actual physical movement of his subject and draftsmanship. The inner angular shape of Leonard’s figures creates movement and pushes his nude figure to the edge of the frame, imparting an inner and outer tension.
Leonard’s contrast of color and flesh tones evokes a sensuality to the human figure and to Leonard’s painting of the new classic nude. The contrast between the tonal range in the oil paintings with the initial drawings, which served as detailed finished pencil figure studies for the paintings, reveal Leonard’s virtuosity as a leading international painter of figurative art today.
Examples of Leonard’s work are in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, London’s National Portrait Gallery, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Museum Boymans van Beumingen in Rotterdam, to mention a few. He has also been the subject of several monographs, written by critics Lincoln Kirstein and Edward Lucie-Smith, and is cited in numerous articles, revues, anthologies and catalogues. Michael Leonard presently lives in London.