Leon Kelly

(American born France, 1901 - 1982)

Leon Kelly was born in Perpignan in the French Pyrenees. He studied at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (now the University of the Arts) and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where his most influential instructors were Earl Horter (1881-1940) and Arthur B. Carles (1882-1952). Their familiarity with the French Fauve and Cubist painters as well as Horter’s own collection of avant garde European art had considerable impact on Kelly’s work. By 1926, when Yellow Flowers was painted, Kelly’s early interest in Cubism had subsided. In 1925 his first solo exhibition was held at the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, followed by an exhibition at the Galerie du Printemps in Paris in 1926. Kelly was included in the Century of Progress exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1933 as well as in the annuals of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, and the Pennsylvania Academy during the 1930s and 1940s.