This 1948 graphite on paper self portrait is by Russian-born artist Leo Saal (1912-1996). Saal was born in Petrograd (now Saint-Petersburg), Russia shortly before the Bolshevik Revolution. He endured three years in The Gulag, and was captured by Germany during WWII. He worked in the circus and theater and was trained in photography and filmmaking. He moved to Washington DC when he was invited to work for the CIA in 1953. Throughout all this, and over six decades, Saal managed to draw, sketch, do printmaking, make collages and paint - often inspired by early references to turn-of-the-century Russian paintings. Recurring themes were frequently related to European history, the circus metaphor, mother and child, and the beach. Saal was primarily self-taught and created thousands of pieces with strong influences from Beckman, Picasso, Manet, Feininger, Velasquez and Goya.
1948 Graphite on Paper 15.5"x19.5" framed, 8.25"x13.25" unframed
Estate stamped and dated lower right. Good vintage condition, minor foxing. Framed in a restored antique wood frame with a black finish and gold accents using archival linen matting behind conservation clear glass.