Devin Leonardi

1981 - 2014 · United States

Artist biography

Devin Leonardi (1981-2014) created nearly 100 paintings and drawings over the course of his lifetime. Born in Evanston, Illinois, Leonardi exhibited exceptional talent in the arts at a young age, performing in theater and television in Chicago while studying visual art at The Chicago Academy for the Arts. Earning a scholarship to New York City’s Cooper Union, Leonardi lived and worked in New York for eleven years where he exhibited his work in numerous group and solo exhibitions. In a short time, the young artist presented solo shows at Guild & Greyshkul and Broadway 1602 in New York as well as at Altman Siegel in San Francisco where he joined the gallery’s program. In 2010, the artist moved to Montana with his partner, Annie Connole, where they were drawn to the expansive landscape and rich history of the western state. There he lived the remainder of his life, finding tranquility in the magnificent scenery and spending his days painting, meditating and exploring the mountainous surroundings.

Leonardi’s drawings and paintings take cues from classical painting traditions to capture an idealized American landscape. Crafting imagery gleaned from nineteenth century photographs, Leonardi’s subjects range from the country’s westward expansion to the early stages of industrialization and the American Civil War. Bringing these historical epochs into the present, Leonardi crafts a conversation around the authenticity of photography and its relationship to painting and the present. Reconstructing his distinctly American source imagery to romantic and atmospheric ends, Leonardi draws from a period that witnessed great transformation through the invention of photography and rise of modernity. Wary of equating these developments with progress, the artist’s work offers a contemplative space for considering how history is documented and preserved, transcending his source material to construct timeless allegories unbound by present-day conditions.

Leonardi’s paintings and drawings are held in numerous collections including The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Devin Leonardi

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