-Grasping- by Leo Russell



Designer VerificationSigned
Country of origin
United States
Material and techniquesLithograph on paper
Excellent condition, richly inked impression, matted/framed
Measures (Inches)
- Height: 15 - Width: 12

"Grasping" by Leo Russell. Lithograph. Very good condition, richly inked impression, matted and framed.  (15" H x 12" W frame.  7 1/2" H x 5 1/2" W image.)  
 Born in Chicago, July 9th, 1917 to Fanya and Solomon Scheinman. His parents were active with a group of émigré intellectuals who influenced and encouraged young Leo to develop his creative energies and capabilities. At age ten, Russell began studying with the Russian academician Arloff, with whom he developed his keen sense of observation; he already saw the world with his own perspective and feeling.


In 1929, the family moved to New York City. Leo was enrolled in the school of allied arts, where he studied with the stage designer Eugene Dunkel, and with the Russian Futurist painter David Burliuck. Later Leo attended Textile High School, where he gained skill in Carpentry, drafting, sculpture and metalwork. After finishing high school Leo studied painting restoration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, employing some of the techniques of the old masters.


Russell taught arts through the WPA program at several New York City Locations. On the basis of this work, his life-long preoccupation with teaching as a form of human contact was firmly rooted. During this period he studied graphic design with Tony Valanos and Jan Bowles, his own execution reflecting the "ash can" school of social realism. When the WPA arts project was suspended, he devoted himself full-time to painting, graphics, and teaching. 


In 1938, Russell met the Baroness von Rebay, as a result he received a small monthly stipend from the museum of Non-Objective Art. Leo Russell sold two wood sculptures to Solomon Guggenheim, works that became part of the permanent collection. He participated in a Group Show at the museum with Mondrian, Calder and many Abstract Artists from Europe and America.


During this time Leo was commissioned to do a mural of Stella Brooks. He also executed two murals for the annual parties of the nascent New York School, whose membership reads like a who's who in contemporary art, including Jackson Pollock, de Kooning, Guston and Kline. During this same period he was commissioned by the architect Percival Goodman to paint a mural at the Jewish community center in Wilksboro, PA.. Mr. Russell's avant-garde art and mechanical and technical skills were later imitated by the Pop and Op artists of the 50's and 60's.

Mr. Russell was commissioned by UNICEF, a branch of the United Nations headed by Mrs. Roosevelt, to design and install a U.N. exhibit -- "One World"-- at the Brooklyn Museum.  Always very active in his art making Mr. Russell turned out enormous quantity of wood sculpture, paintings and lithographs, enough work for 11 one man shows up to the time of his death in 1985.