David A Leffel

David A Leffel’s peers not only recognize him as a painters’ painter but he is also considered by many to be no less than the artistic reincarnation of Rembrandt. He grew up in New York City, where he had a brief career in advertising, but he eventually came to chiaroscuro painting at the Art Students League of New York with Frank Mason, who said to Leffel, “You have the genius of the gods in those hands!” Soon he would become a revered instructor there, sharing his special understanding of painting with thousands of students for more than 20 years. Teaching continues to be a part of his life with his new online library of instructional videos in The Artists Guild, where he now touches the lives of artists daily from all over the world.  

Leffel has had numerous one-man shows, including at Grand Central Galleries in New York City in 1986; George Stern Fine Art in Los Angeles in 2013; and John Pence Gallery in San Francisco in 2015. His most recent retrospective was at the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art in Malibu, California in 2016, and was accompanied by a scholarly book titled David A Leffel: The Mastery of Light. In this book Weisman Museum director Michael Zakian chronicles Leffel’s importance in art history, giving the reader new insights into his genius. 

Leffel has received many Lifetime Achievement awards, most notably from the Salmagundi Club, the California Art Club, and Fine Art Connoisseur magazine at the PACE Conference in Santa Fe. In 2016 he won the coveted Prix de West award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma City, OK) for his penetrating portrait of Jonathan Warm Day Coming, a native elder at Taos Pueblo. Leffel will be presented with a Living Legend Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 American Masters exhibition at the Salmagundi Club 

Director George Gallo produced a feature-length documentary on Leffel’s life titled David A Leffel: An American Master. The film has had a few private screenings, where the response has been overwhelming: audiences have laughed, cried, and been transformed by this moving depiction of the life of a true artist. The picture is slated for film festivals soon before heading for wider distribution.

 Although his subjects range from figure and portrait to landscape and still life, Leffel’s real subject matter is light flowing and drifting over surfaces. His work can be found in permanent museum collections throughout the United States, as well as in numerous private collections in America and abroad. Leffel has written two books that have met worldwide acclaim for their ability to integrate his understanding of technical aspects of painting with his philosophy of the aesthetics of beauty. Appreciated by artists and collectors alike, An Artist Teaches and Self-Portraits: A Visual Journey of Insight have both been published under the Bright Light Fine Art and Publishing imprint.

Leffel is represented by InSight Gallery (Fredericksburg, TX), Legacy Gallery (Scottsdale, AZ), Nedra Matteucci Galleries (Santa Fe), and Total Arts Gallery (Taos, NM).