Born in 1933, Michael Leonard studied Commercial Design and Illustration at London’s Saint Martin’s School of Art from 1954 to 1957 and spent the next few years working as a freelance illustrator, producing artwork for books, magazines and advertising, before finding his voice as a painter and getting his first solo exhibition in 1974.
His early paintings, mainly portraits of friends and family, tended to be formal, sober and low key, a clear contrast to his commercial work. Over time, his work became more animated and colourful and in 1985 he was commissioned to paint the portrait of HRH Queen Elizabeth II which now hangs at the National Portrait Gallery.
The nude, and especially the male nude, has been a recurring theme in Leonard’s work, with his models often on the move or in a state of transition, dressing or undressing. Almost all his nude paintings are based on pencil drawings which are not only preparatory studies but works of art themselves, many of which are on display as part of the exhibition.
A list of works which are available for sale can be seen HERE
Coningsby Gallery 30 Tottenham Street, London, W1T 4RJ. Closed Sundays, open until 7pm Thursdays and Fridays.