Leon Gaspard (1882-1964)
Born in Vitebsk, Russia, to a father who was a retired military officer, Leon Gaspard was encouraged in his early artistic pursuits. Though it was music his family wanted him to pursue, Gaspard won their approval to study painting. Following his study in Moscow, Gaspard moved to Paris at the age of 17 to continue his education. At first working hand to mouth in Paris, Gaspard attracted the attention of high profile dealers and clients alike.
His career was interrupted by the onset of war, and Gaspard served in the French Air Corps as an aerial observer, which resulted in major injuries when his plane was shot down. His American wife arranged for him to recuperate in New York, and by 1918, at his doctor’s urging, the Gaspards had relocated to the warmer climate of Taos, New Mexico. A relative latecomer to the Taos art colony, he was ultimately accepted in to the artistic community upon striking a friendship with the well respected Herbert “Buck” Dunton.
Fascinated by different cultures, Gaspard was a tireless traveler, having spent years of his life exploring the Asian, African, and European continents. While in Taos, he found ready inspiration in Indian culture. An expressive artist who resisted an immersion in modernism, Leon Gaspard’s vibrant works remained rooted in impressionism.
Traveling and producing fruitfully until his death, Leon Gaspard died in Taos, New Mexico, in 1964.