A meeting of two cultures creates new and intriguing things, especially in art. Leon Gaspard blended the culture of Russia with that of the southwestern Native Americans. But he had many adventures on the journey that led him to the American West and he tells the stories of those adventures through his paintings.
Born in Vitesbsk, Russia in 1882, Gaspard’s travels brought him to many different points around the world. However, Taos, New Mexico spoke to him in a way no other location had. The diversity coupled with the fantastic and striking scenery inspired Gaspard.
Leon Gaspard’s love for different cultures and the desire to capture them in painting started at a young age. He accompanied his father on fur trading trips throughout the Russian interior and Asia. Seeing his precocious artistic abilities, his family encouraged his love for painting. He studied at a nearby school with Marc Chagall and Julius Penn. When Gaspard turned 17, he travelled to Paris to enroll at JulienAcademy.
During World War I, Gaspard enlisted with the French to become a fighter pilot. After a crash left him seriously injured, doctors suggested that he move to a different climate. Leon Gaspard decided to look into America.
Taos at once seemed like a natural fit. The mix of cultures and established artist community drew Gaspard. However, the community did not take to Leon Gaspard as quickly. Most of his work was still based on what he experienced during his travels and the goal of the art colony was to celebrate the local area. Luckily, Gaspard found a friend in Herbert “Buck” Dunton, a founding member of the Taos Society of Artists. Popularity soon followed, thanks to Gaspard’s friendly demeanor and interesting stories he had picked up on his travels. His works soon reflected his increasing familiarity with the people.
Gaspard’s overall style is influenced by the impressionists. Bright blasts of color sweep across scenes of exotic locations and people. What he loved best was capturing the essence of a culture – what made these people who they are. In the end, Leon Gaspard had wanted to tell grand versions of his own adventures.
Kenny Ackerman is an Art Dealer in New York, specializing in Fine Art Paintings from 19th-21st century Europe and America. To buy or sell original paintings by artists we represent, contact Ackerman’s Fine Art here.