Leonard Maurer (1912-1976)
Leonard Maurer, known for his abstract and modernist compositions in painting and printmaking, was born in Newark, New Jersey. Due to his father’s early death, he was forced to leave school, working several jobs including one at a print company which allowed him to develop skills in sketching and printmaking. Maurer would go on to join the United States Army as a cartographer before WWII and eventually took part in the liberation of Europe, moving through France, Luxembourg, Belgium and Germany. He continued his service upon his return to the U.S. in 1945, where he worked for the U.S. Army Map Service in Washington D.C. Maurer’s experience in the military as a cartographer instilled an interest in nature that would find a place in his work through expressive, natural forms.
He went on to earn a B.F.A. from American University and then taught at Mt. Vernon College where he served as the chair of the art department until 1967. The artist’s rich use of color and sense of space highlighting his compositions featured prominently in his most compelling work. Maurer’s work has been widely exhibited across the United States, including being chosen to hang in the White House in 1969.