Leon Garland

b. 1896, Borbruisk, Russia

Leon Garland was born in Borbruisk, Russia, and came to the United States in 1913 when he was 17 years old. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and at Hull House, where he later taught textile and metal crafts. Artist Morris Topchevsky introduced him to the community around Jane Addams Hull House, and there he met Sadie Ellis, who became his wife in 1927. They traveled widely in Europe and studied in Paris at the Andre L’hote School.

Garland worked in oil painting, textile design, batik, metal, lithography, and stained glass. Garland's paintings focus on the potential dignity of human beings and his hope of seeing a better world. They are a reaction to his traumatic experiences in Russia where he saw many villages and their inhabitants destroyed by strife. Throughout his career, he was less concerned with selling his work than the critiques of his professional peers. He associated with the Chicago Society of Artists and worked on the WPA/Federal Arts Project.

His work was exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, M. H. De Young Museum in San Francisco, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. In 1942, the Art Institute of Chicago mounted a solo show of his paintings, and in 1948, the American Jewish Art Club held a retrospective exhibition of his works. Other memorial exhibits were at the Witte Memorial Museum of San Antonio, and the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art in Kansas City. His work is held in the collections of the Jewish Museum, New York; Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Chicago; and the Museum of Tel Aviv, Israel.

Works by Leon Garland