Lot 3

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LEON GASPARD (Russian/American 1882-1964)
The Opium Den -1921
Oil on linen on paperboard
Signed and dated lower left "Leon Gaspard Canton 1921"
19.5 inches x 15 inches (49.6 x 38.1 cm)
Estimate:  $40,000 - 70,000   € 36,800 - 64,400
Price Realized: $40,000.00

Provenance:

Christie's, New York, November 19, 2014, Lot 152, illustrated


Leon Gaspard (1882 – 1964) was an interesting addition to the New Mexico arts scene when he arrived there in 1918. A Russian-born, French-trained veteran of the airborne campaigns of the Great War, he survived a horrific plane crash and recuperated in a French hospital for two years. Seeking a more hospitable climate, he arrived in Taos to find a vibrant arts community and an exotic blend of native, western, and Hispanic cultures.

Having traveled widely throughout Eastern Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa, Gaspard had a love of foreign cultures and a desire to document them artistically. He was fascinated with regional color, costumes, and rituals of local people and Taos allowed him just such an opportunity. He set out to paint the Taos Indians in much the same way he had painted the natives of Russian homeland, North Africa and Asia.

He and wife, Evelyn, traveled extensively from Taos, using every form of transportation to see far-away-places including China, Mongolia, Tibet, Morocco, and Northern Africa. He became accustomed to drawing or sketching on horseback or in wagons and traveled thousands of miles by pony, camel, river boat, steamship, automobile, truck, and airplane. It was said that regardless of where he was, he always lived in the big world in that he was filled with expansive ideas and creative spirit. His paintings combine the clear bright colors associated with Impressionism and the influences of more modern and interpretive representation. Gaspard's vibrant paintings, filled with movement and rendered in brilliant colors, are a historic legacy of cultures from around the world.

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