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 Leo Politi  (1908 - 1996)

About: Leo Politi


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Lived/Active: California      Known for: illustrator-children's books, painter

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BIOGRAPHY for Leo Politi
1908 (Fresno, California)
1996 (Costa Mesa, California)


Image Courtesy of Edenhurst Gallery

Often Known For
illustrator-children's books, painter

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Fresno, CA on Nov. 21, 1908. Politi spent his first seven years in Fresno and then moved to Italy with his family. In 1924 he was awarded a scholarship to the National Art Institute at Monza near Milan. Leaving Italy in 1931, he settled in Los Angeles where he established a home on Bunker Hill. When not painting watercolors on Olvera Street in the Old Plaza, he was art editor of Viking Press as well as illustrator of "Little Pancho" and the weekly "Jack and Jill." He won the Caldecott Book Award three times and was awarded a medal from the Catholic Library Ass'n for his contribution to children's literature. Having painted a mural there, a branch library in Fresno was named for him in 1974. Politi died in Costa Mesta, CA on March 26, 1996. Exh: Delphi Studios (NYC), 1930s; PAFA WC Annual, 1937; Painters & Sculptors of LA, 1938; DeFerrante Gallery (LA), 1941; Glendale Library, 1944; LA State College, 1961. In: University of Fresno Theater (murals).
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Who's Who in American Art 1940-41; Who's Who in California 1942.
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.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Leo Politi was a famed author and illustrator of books for children. During his career he won many prestigious awards including the prestigious Caldecott Medal. He also wrote and illustrated several books about Los Angeles and Southern California, and his work appeared on the covers of Jack and Jill Magazine and Script Magazine.

He created a half dozen murals in his lifetime including for the libraries of Monterey, South Pasadena and Fresno. His most ambitious mural is located at the foot of Olivera Street in downtown Los Angeles.

Leo was born in 1908 in Fresno, California. As a teenager his parents moved to Italy where Leo studied art. After six years, Leo returned to California and settled in Los Angeles where he remained for over 60 years.

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