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9.10.06

Eugene "Bud" Leake

Eugene Leake, Red Nude with Green BackgroundAs I mentioned previously, Eugene Leake has a posthumous exhibit at the C Grimaldis Gallery, with work from 1911 thru 2005. Gene was well known in this area as a great painter of the countryside north of Baltimore, but he was also president of the Maryland Institute College of Art for 13 years. Mica blossomed under Leake’s charge, doubling enrollment and tripling the faculty size, earning a national reputation.

This is a sizable show of 36 works, many removed from his studio and cleaned after his death. There are some fine examples of his work here, including a rare landscape with a figure, Red Nude with Green Background, reminiscent of Fairfield Porter. Also rarely seen watercolors, from a 70s trip to Ireland, and a beautiful small black night scene, Light on a Winter Forest Stream.

Eugene LeakeMr. Leake was one of the first artists I became aquainted with, when first moving to Baltimore some 20 years ago. In that time I watched as he would go from loose, simplified imagery to more formally structured and then veer a bit towards the abstract; always searching. He produced a series of night scenes a few years ago that were stunning, those late-in-life paintings that for me, go beyond formal boundaries; they have an inner life to them. Some of Monet’s waterlilies have that same presence: they become celestial.

He was also a late bloomer, not really finding his stride until his late 50s: now that’s inspiration.

1 comment:

bill mcallen said...

Bud Leake's portrait
http://www.flickr.com/photos/billmcallenphotos/3464027415/