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Leon Gaspard (Russian/American, 1882-1964)


Also known as:  Gaspard, Leon Schulman

Although Leon Gaspard established his early career as a painter of Russian peasant subjects, he ultimately found commercial success in Taos, New Mexico, with his expressive portraits of Pueblo Indians. Born in 1882 outside of Moscow, Gaspard as a boy traveled with his fur-trader father throughout Russia, China, Mongolia, Tibet, and northern Africa, becoming fascinated with ethnography. His art training in Vitebsk introduced him and fellow student Marc Chagall to Post-Impressionist color, which he coupled with an attention to draftsmanship after studying in 1901 at the Académie Julien. By the 1910s, Gaspard had developed his signature composition: vividly colored, densely populated landscapes with Russian peasants parading at festivals, caravanning through the snow, or gathering at the town market. This same interest in village daily life appears in his paintings from Taos, where he and his wife settled after World War I, thanks in large measure to their friendship with painter Herbert "Buck" Dunton.

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