Artist biography

Ernst van Leyden 1892-1969

Dutch-American painter, born in Rotterdam. Studied at the Academy in Rotterdam, the School of Arts and Crafts in Berlin, St Martin's School of Art, London, and the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Worked from 1916 in Amsterdam and Laren (where he met van Doesburg, van der Leck and Mondrian), and from 1920 at Loosdrecht; also visited and worked in Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, England, Egypt and the Middle East. Painted portraits, street scenes of Paris, Portuguese landscapes, etc. Most of his early works were destroyed in a fire in his London studio in 1935 or looted by the Germans in Holland in World War II. Emigrated to the USA in 1939, and spent a year in New York, then lived until 1958 at Brentwood, Los Angeles. Changed his name from Ernst Leyden to Ernst van Leyden and took US nationality. Executed numerous murals in collaboration with his wife Karen, using a derivation of the stained-glass window technique. Turned to abstract painting in the mid 1950s and began c.1960 to make collage-assemblages, often of large dimensions. Bought a studio in Venice in 1956 and a property at Monfort l'Amaury, France, in 1960. In his last years divided his time mainly between Paris and New York. Died in Versailles (Yvelines).

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.433