Revisited Online: May 26, 2020 – Ongoing
Organized by Rory Padeken, associate curator

Artist Spotlight: Leon Gilmour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    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.”