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Leon Kelly
Date: American painter, 1901–1982
Biography: Kelly was one of the very few Americans to be accepted by the European Surrealist group, exhibiting with them in Europe and with such Surrealists as Matta Echaurren and Hans Bellmer in New York. Born in Philadelphia, Kelly studied privately with Albert Jean Adolphe, Alexander Portnoff, and Earl Horter. WIth the encouragement of Arthur B. Carles, Kelly entered the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1922. He won the Cresson Scholarship, allowing him to study in Europe starting in 1925. In Paris he copied old master paintings at the Louvre and absorbed the most modern currents. His early patrons included Alfred Barnes. Kelly returned to Philadelphia in 1930. During his long career he experimented with Social Realism and embraced Surrealism, while maintaining his love for the old masters. In 1942 Kelly moved to Harvey Cedars on Long Beach Island, New Jersey. In the forties, he exhibited at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York and taught at the Brooklyn Museum School.