A California native, Leonard Edmondson, painter, printmaker, educator, and author, was born in Sacramento in 1916. His college studies began at the Los Angeles City College and continued at the University of California at Berkeley where he graduated in 1942 after earning his B.A. and M.A. in Fine Art. 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. Concurrent with beginning teaching, Edmondson became absorbed with Klee and Kandinsky, studying Klee'sPedagogical Sketchbookand Kandinsky's theoretical writings. The year 1951 was pivotal for Edmondson as he made his first etching during a course taught by Ernest Freed and his first solo exhibition was held at the Felix Landau Gallery in Los Angeles. The following year his first solo museum show was mounted at the de Young Museum. Edmondson's career included professorships at the Otis Art Institute, University of California at Berkeley, Pratt Institute, and the California State University in Los Angeles where he remained until his retirement in 1986.
An enumeration of his numerous awards and fellowships would furnish a roster equal in size to that of the exhibitions in which he has been included. In 1970, he published his technical treatise Etching, which is still a valuable reference to printmakers. A few of the repositories which include his works are the Bibliothèque Nationale, Cornell University, Detroit Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, New York Public Library, and the Worcester Art Museum.