Leo Marchutz – A Guiding Light

January 6, 2019

I was introduced to the artwork and teachings of Leo Marchutz when I was 20 years old. Soon thereafter, he became the guiding light and inspiration of my artistic journey. His art and philosophy on the creative process formed a strong foundation for me. I embraced it then and I still believe in the truth of his vision.

Who was this artist, this unassuming Franco-German painter and lithographer  who died in 1976 –  four years before my arrival in Aix? For me, he is one of the 20th century’s most important, unrecognized artists.

Leo Marchutz’s insights into the creative process, its mystery, and its mode remain hidden treasures. These treasures deserve to be brought back out into the light and evaluated for the universal and timeless wisdom they represent”.  (Extract from Leo and I and the Ghost of Cézanne by William Weyman, Painter and Art Educator)

Through Leo Marchutz, I discovered a new poetry of the line – how a line on a white surface can take on meaning and transform the flat white surface into space and light, at once physical and spiritual. Marchutz’s unique line gives birth to the light, creating a presence that is pure, divine, inquisitive, free, simple and otherworldly.

Who, after centuries and centuries of artists painting portraits of Christ, could paint Jesus in a manner  that no one had seen before? Who could paint Mount Sainte Victoire in a new way after Cezanne made the mountain famous?

Below, is one of my favorite works of Leo Marchutz “Dante Received Into Paradise by Beatrice”. I will let it speak for itself… Or better yet, let’s allow the following lines from Dante’s Paradiso guide us:

Oh grace abounding, wherein I presumed to fix my look on the eternal light so long that I wearied my sight thereon!

Within its depths I saw ingathered, bound by love in one volume, the scattered leaves of all the universe…



The Marchutz Catalogue Raisonné Project

The year 2019 will mark the launch of an ambitious, wide-ranging project to create a catalogue raisonné referencing the works of Leo Marchutz. This will be the first coordinated initiative to digitally record and safeguard information on the artist’s work.

In recent years, there has been growing public and scholarly recognition of Leo’s contribution. Some very exciting discoveries, including the presence of a number of works by Marchutz in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum and MOMA in New York, plus the geolocalization of most of the artist’s extant oil paintings from the 1920’s, have given us the impetus to launch this project.

Please join me in supporting The Leo Marchutz Catalogue Raisonné Project.


The Leo Marchutz Catalogue Raisonné is a volunteer project being undertaken by students, friends, family, and admirers of Marchutz. Help us promote the reach and recognition of the artist Leo Marchutz by sharing with others your interest in his work and in the Catalogue Raisonné project.


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