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 Leonard H. Mersky  (1917 - 1994)

About: Leonard H. Mersky


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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Mississippi      Known for: etchings of coastal scenes and ships

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Leonard H. Mersky is primarily known as Leonard H. Mersky

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
FROM LEATHER TO COPPER: Leonard H. Mersky's Etchings

Born in Boston in 1917, Leonard Mersky was a budding artist in his early teens.  He attended the Massachusetts College of Art, while being privately tutored by the famous etcher, William "Petie" Bicknell, absorbing this American master's technique and knowledge. Although Mersky retained this priceless information, his life took other twists and turns as he entered adult life.

Serving in the Navy during World War II, working on top-secret maps for the invasion of Japan, Leonard Mersky did not return home until January 1946.  By then he had married and had a seven-month-old son he had never seen.

He entered the family shoe business and remained in that industry until 1972 when the factory closed.  He retained his interest in fine art, but his responsibilities as a husband and father prevented him from indulging in his art as anything more than a hobby.  During that period, he put his etchings on consignment in various galleries and when the checks arrived, they were treated as "fun extras." But with the closing of the shoe factory, Mersky decided to make his art a full-time endeavor.  He never looked back.

His long years of business experience provided an important base as he started selling his prints, first on his own, traveling to various galleries and gift shops throughout New England, and then through agents who traveled the eastern seaboard.  His clients soon included Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, with whom he had a 10-year contract.  He created more than 20 original copper plates for Colonial Williamsburg.

Among other buyers were Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, and Plymouth Plantation and Sturbridge in Massachusetts.  He even received occasional calls from government offices looking for unusual gifts for officials as described earlier.  Besides private collections, Leonard Mersky's work is found in the fine-print collection of Georgetown University.

- Jane Haslem Gallery publication

Submitted July 2007 by Scott Wilder, Art Professional from Olathe, Kansas

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