Media File
Leon Dabo
Date: American landscapist and muralist, 1868–1960, active in Paris
Biography: In the early 20th century, Leon Dabo developed an international reputation for his atmospheric landscape paintings. Born in France, Dabo was raised in Detroit, Michigan. With his family in 1883, he moved to New York City, where he worked as an architectural designer and studied with John LaFarge. In the 1880s he traveled through Europe, stopping to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, the Académie Colarossi, and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and to work in the studio of James Abbott McNeill Whistler in London. He returned to New York in 1890 and painted murals and landscapes. He found success first in France, where the respected painter Edmond Aman-Jean exhibited his work, and then throughout the United States. Dabo positioned himself as a modernist insurgent, exhibiting in the non-juried shows at the MacDowell Club and in the 1910 Exhibition of Independent Artists, and helping to found the Pastellists. He also actively participated in organizing the Armory Show of 1913. During World War I, he put his language skills to use serving in the French, British, and United States forces. After the war he became a popular lecturer and painted in various artists' colonies in Connecticut. Back in France by 1937, he helped artists transport their work out of the country as World War II approached. After the war he returned to France, where he spent most of the rest of his life landscape painting.