This 1951 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.
Graphite on Paper
16.5"x20" framed, 6.75"x9.25" unframed
Estate stamped and dated lower right. Excellent vintage condition. Framed in a restored vintage wood frame with a gold leaf finish and white inlay using archival linen matting behind conservation clear glass.