As They Are: Portraits by Mel Leipzig
|July 16–September 5, 2015
Opening Reception Thursday, July 16, 6–9pm
Mel Leipzig has been concerned with the figure, painted directly from life, for over 40 years. As They Are: Portraits by Mel Leipzig focuses on the characteristic informality of his subject against a backdrop of architectural detail and highly skewed perspective. The paintings are at once disconcertingly familiar and unfamiliar.
Mel Leipzig was born in Brooklyn in 1935 and lives and works in Trenton, NJ. He is a retired professor of painting and art history at Mercer County Community College and has had over 40 solo exhibitions at museums and art centers throughout the country, including a retrospective at the New Jersey State Museum in 1998. In 2009, he was the subject of two exhibitions at the New Jersey State Museum. One, Mel Leipzig, Selected Paintings, was a selection of his paintings completed in the first decade of the 21st Century and curated by Margaret O’Reilly, Curator of Fine Arts. The second, Mel Leipzig, The Artist as Curator, was an exhibition of figurative paintings from the museum’s collection curated by the artist.
His works are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Academy Museum and the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City. In New Jersey his paintings are in the collection of the New Jersey State Museum, the Montclair Art Museum, the Morris Museum and the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University. In Pennsylvania, his paintings are in the collections of the Woodmere Art Museum and the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania which purchased his painting Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. In Massachusetts, his paintings are in the collections of the Cape Cod Museum of Art and the Provincetown Art Association Museum. In 2003 the American Academy of Arts and Letters purchased his painting Bernarda Shahn and donated it to the Springville Museum of Art in Utah.
Leipzig received a Fulbright Grant to Paris (1958–59), a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award (1959–60), and four grants for painting from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (1982, 1986, 1992, 2002). In 1980 he was the first recipient of the Mercer County Community College Distinguished Teacher Award Gold Medal and in 1996 was one of the last individual artists to receive a grant in painting from then National Endowment for the Arts. In 2000 and 2002 he received awards for his paintings from the National Academy, NYC.
He studied at The Cooper Union under Nicholas Marsicano, Morris Kantor, Will Barnet and Neil Welliver (1953–56); Yale University, School of Art & Architecture (BFA) under Josef Albers and James Brooks (1956–58); and Pratt Institute (MFA) under Nan Benedict, Ralph Wickiser and George McNeill (1970–72).
In 2006 Mel Leipzig was elected to the National Academy. In 2014 he was one of the artists included in Deborah Forman’s book Contemporary Cape Cod Artists, People & Places. He is one of the seven painters included in the book Selected Contemporary Figurative Painters, published in 2010 by the Tianjin People’s Fine Arts Publishing House and edited by Qimin Liu, which introduces contemporary American realist painting to the Chinese audience. In October 2015, he will be going as part of an artist exchange to Shandong Province in China.
Mel Leipzig is represented by Gallery Henoch., NYC.