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Revisited Online: May 26, 2020 – Ongoing

Artist Spotlight: Leon Gilmour

Leon Gilmour
Mission Bell, San Juan Capistrano, 1932
Wood engraving, 5 3/4 × 4 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Volcanic Rock, 1932
Wood engraving, 5 1/2 × 9 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Pinnacles, 1933
Wood engraving, 9 × 5 1/2 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Star of Bethlehem, 1934
Wood engraving, 5 1/2 × 4 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Mountain Mahogany, 1935
Wood engraving, 5 5/8 × 4 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Outposts, 1936
Wood engraving, 6 3/4 × 11 3/4 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Christmas Candles, 1936
Wood engraving, 5 3/4 × 4 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Let the Living Rise, 1937
Wood engraving, 8 × 11 1/2 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Hedgehog Cactus, 1937
Wood engraving, 5 5/8 × 4 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Poinsettia, 1938
Wood engraving, 5 1/2 × 4 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Desert Still Life, 1938
Wood engraving, 9 × 7 1/2 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Cement Finishers, 1939
Wood engraving, 10 × 8 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Timberline, 1939
Wood engraving, 7 1/2 × 5 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Chrysanthemums, 1944
Wood engraving, 5 1/2 × 3 3/4 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Verdugo Hills, 1944
Wood engraving, 4 3/4 × 7 1/2 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Pomegranates, 1945
Wood engraving, 5 5/8 × 4 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Pine Cones, 1946
Wood engraving, 5 1/2 × 3 3/4 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Mission San Luis Rey, 1947
Wood engraving, 5 3/4 × 4 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour
Grand Canyon, 1934
Wood engraving, 7 1/4 × 9 3/4 inches
Gift of the artist

Leon Gilmour championed the anonymous worker and celebrated manual labor in a distinctive body of wood engravings defined by a crisp style and meticulous lines. Gilmour emigrated with his family from Russia to the United States in 1916, passing through Ellis Island at the age of nine. Later in life, lacking the funds to complete his education, Gilmour sought employment first as a construction worker in New York, then as a field hand in the Midwest, followed by gold mining in Colorado, and finally driving a truck in Los Angeles, where, in 1931, he enrolled at Otis Art Institute. Unlike his contemporaries in this exhibition, Gilmour worked in the West, depicting the unique flora and terrain of the American desert and the early missions of California. At the end of the 1930s, Gilmour expressed his outrage against fascism in Europe and the bombing of the Spanish town of Guernica in the engraving Let the Living Rise (1937) (1984.32.08). Gilmour borrowed his title from a line in Irwin Shaw’s “Bury the Dead,” a play about the futility of war. The full line reads: “The dead have arisen, now let the living rise, singing.”