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 Leslie Emery  (1912 - 1998)

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Lived/Active: California/District Of Columbia/Massachusetts      Known for: Notable portraits and landscape painting

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Poker Face
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Turner’s Falls, MA on Aug. 29, 1912, Leslie Emery moved to Washington, DC in 1920 and studied for three years at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.  Following service in the Army Air Corps during WWII, he settled in Carmel, California.

Primarily a portrait painter, he also did landscapes and religious art.  Leaving California in 1991, he moved to Norfolk, Virginia where he remained until his demise on Aug. 2, 1998.

Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1935 (1st prize); Falls Church Women’s Club, 1938; Burlington Hotel (Washington), 1939; Carmel Art Assocation; Society of Western Art; California State Fairs; Laguna Art Festivals.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Carmel Pine Cone, 8-21-1998 (obituary).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from Trotter Galleries, Inc.:
Leslie Emery was a master painter and draftsman.  His hyper realistic portraits of migrant workers, Native Americans and the elderly were collected world-wide and highly prized.

Leslie Emery was born in 1912 in Turner’s Falls, Massachusetts, and spent his youth in Washington D.C., where he completed three years of study at the Corcoran School of Fine Art in 1935, earning the school’s “Concours,” or grand prize for which he was awarded a year’s use of a studio in the Corcoran Art Gallery and a monetary prize.

He went on to specialize in portrait painting in the East, including pictures of a series of judges for the Federal Works Progress Administration.  He also restored paintings for a private gallery in the capital city.  At this work he developed a love of the techniques of the Old Masters and made a study of their ways of working. He incorporated much of what he discovered into his own work.

Until World War II, he painted many notables in the Washington area. At the outbreak of World War II he was completing a portrait of Gen. Marshall for the Virginia Military Institute.  Upon completing this painting, he joined the Air Force. He served in Africa and Italy where he had a chance to study the character of the area’s people.  Every free moment he spent prowling the villages and sketching the people – drawn to the appealing looks of the dark-eyed children and the time-worn beauty of the elders.  He amassed sketchbooks of drawings and customized many planes in his squadron with his paintings.

As a portrait artist he moved to Hollywood after the war where he did commissioned portraits of people in the film world whose subjects included Bing Crosby.  In 1946 a drive up California’s west coast attracted him to Carmel where he set up a home and studio at Carmel Point.  He continued to paint portraits, landscapes and religious works.  He joined the Carmel Art Association in 1946 and served as president in 1956, 1958-1959.

In search of subject matter, Emery traveled a great deal, sketching extensively. Keeping a war-time vow, he returned to Europe three times to paint its people and the ancient cathedral carvings.  A love and understanding of Mexico and her people resulted in frequent trips south of the border.  He also gathered material in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand.

He exhibited and won prizes for his work at the California State Fair; the Laguna Art Festival; Society of Western Artists Annual; Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, D.C. (solo); Crocker Gallery in Sacramento (solo); Carmel Art Association; and other exhibitions.

He moved to Norfolk, Virginia in 1991 to be near his daughter after the death of his wife.  He died there on August 2, 1998.

Carmel Art Association Newsletter/Fall, 1998; The Carmel Pine Cone Obit.; The Virginian Pilot/The Daily Break Obit; Art & Artists; Monterey: The Artist’s View, 1925-1945/MPMA.

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