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  • Leo Marchutz was an artist who originated in Nuremberg. After leaving and a an early life of fun, he ended up in Aix en Provence where he studied masters from the city including Cezanne. He had a fascinating life and his work is some of the most incredible work I have seen.

    Later in his life, he ended up teaching a class for the IAU, or an institution for Americans studying abroad in France. After he taught a small afternoon class, he expanded his class into the Leo Marhutz school of art. The school has gone through a series of troubles and changes but exists today as the institution responsible for my visit here (after one thing lead to another).

    The seminar I attended today was on Leo Marchutz, a introductory primer on his life and his work. It was fascinating.

    As his work developed over the years of his life, he developed a couple of series of work that really hit home for me. It's not often that I see something that I am almost passionate about, especially when it is not directly related to architecture.

    His first series of work was a series of lithographs based on a collection of plain and simple pencil sketched from and in Aix. The sketches are of simple landscapes and street views. The very views that we experience as we navigate the city. He took the images and made prints from them, many times he seated a number of prints from each pencil sketch. The series was a constant experiment, a flurry of simplicity mixed with colors, line weights, and the essence of each image he presented.

    Another of his series was a collection of sketches of ends from the bible. He enjoyed the happiness from the stories and recreated many. After getting a commission to do some larger works of the same type, he experimented with projection, and the recreating of a sketch on a much larger medium. This was the series that I fell for. It would be impossible to explain the glory of the work in this collection.

    He took the bible sketches and used a projector that would replicate about a quarter of his sketch on the canvas, where he would recreate the image. It wasn't just big strokes but hundreds of little ones to even replicate how his strokes hit the smaller page.

    Some of the pieces from the series were big and bold strokes in grey, while others were composed of blue and orange lines to create that perfect collection of shades to match the emotion of the moment he was trying to represent.

    We had the opportunity to see many of the works on display, and to experience them was a true treat.

    Leo Marchutz died in the 70's, after teaching a number of students. Among them were John and Alan, the 2 masters who have lifted the school to it's pedestal as it is now.
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