Leonard Edmondson, painter, printmaker, educator, and author, was born in Sacramento, California on June 21, 1916. He studied at Los Angeles City College, and in 1937, entered the University of California at Berkeley, receiving his B.A. in 1940 and his M.A. in 1942. Between 1942 and 1946, Edmondson served in the U.S. Army in Military Intelligence. During these years, he traveled through Europe where he saw a body of work by Paul Klee. Immediately after the war, he explored the collections of the Louvre.
Returning to California in 1947, he accepted the first teaching position of his distinguished career at the Pasadena City College. Edmondson also taught at the Otis Art Institute, University of California at Berkeley (summers of 1960 and 1964), Pratt Institute in 1961, and in 1964, he was appointed chairman of the printmaking department at California State University in Los Angeles and he remained there until his retirement in 1986.
Edmondson took a class in etching from Ernest Freed in 1951 and the following year his print, Heralds of Inquiry, won an award at an annual exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. His first solo museum exhibition at the De Young Memorial Museum in 1952 was followed by solo exhibitions at the Pasadena Art Museum and the Santa Barbara Museum. He won his first Tiffany Fellowship in 1953 and the second in 1955. Edmondson was award a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1960, which allowed him to focus on his printmaking. In 1967 a retrospective of his work was held at the San Francisco Museum of Art and he published his technical treatise, Etching, in 1970. He was a member of the California Watercolor Society and the California Printmakers Society.
Edmondson’s work is represented in the collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Brooklyn Museum, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, Dallas Museum of Fine Art, Detroit Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery, New York Public Library, Oakland Museum of California Art, Pasadena Art Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Seattle Art Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Worcester Art Museum.
Leonard Edmondson died in Pasadena, California on July 22, 2002.