David Leffel (American, b. 1931) oil on canvas painting, "Ernie's Beret/Self Portrait," depicting the gray haired, bearded artist attired in a 17th century style beret and brown and black robes against a dark brown background, in a style and composition remniscent of self portraits by Rembrandt Van Rijn. Signed lower right corner. Additionally signed and titled en verso and dated 4/00 (April, 2000), and inscribed "for Valleau and Robert Caruthers." Ebonized carved frame with ripple molded edges and gilt rabbet edge. 15 3/4" H x 13 3/4" W sight, 24" x 22" framed. Provenance: the collection of artist Valleau Caruthers, Brentwood, TN, who studied under Leffel; acquired directly from the artist. Biography: David Leffel was born in Brooklyn and attended the Parsons School of Design. After a brief period working in commercial art, he enrolled in the Art Students League in 1959. There he was introduced to chiaroscuro painting under the guidance of Frank Mason. He was also heavily influenced by the work of the 17th century Dutch masters, particularly Rembrandt Van Rijn. By 1972, Leffel had become a teacher at the Art Students League, and he eventually went on to write the book "Oil Painting Secrets from a Master" (Watson/Guptill, 1995). Leffel moved to New Mexico in 1992 to continue painting and teaching. He was awarded the Gold Medal for Oil from the National Academy of Western Art, and his works are held in museums including the J.B. Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, and at Princeton University in New Jersey. The Frederick Weisman Museum of Art in California recently conducted a retrospective of his work. In his book on Leffel, artist/author Michael Zakian calls Leffel "one of the founders of the contemporary realist art movement." CONDITION: Fine craquelure throughout, a couple of small brush hairs trapped in paint, overall both painting and frame in very good condition.
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