Leo Katz Biography

Leo Katz




Leo Katz, painter, muralist, printmaker, and photographer was born in Roznau, Czechoslovakia on December 30, 1887. His formal training was at the Fine Arts Academy in Vienna between the years 1905 and 1908. The following year he studied at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. Katz traveled extensively throughout Europe and continued studying, supporting himself with portrait commissions. One such commission, for the Frank Vanderlip family, earned him a sponsorship to the United States. He immigrated to the United States in 1920, settling for a time in New York, where he taught a course on Modern Art at the Metropolitan Museum between 1927 and 1933.


He moved to Los Angeles in 1934, taking a position at the Chouinard Art Institute. In the 1930s, he assisted Jose Clemente Orozco with his frescos at Dartmouth College and painted murals at the Chicago World’s Fair and the Frank Wiggins Trade School in Los Angeles.

Katz relocated to New York in the 1940s where he worked at Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17 at the New School for Social Research. He completed about twenty important prints at Atelier 17 and served as director when Hayter returned to France in 1950. Katz was also very interested in photography and taught the medium at Spelman College in Atlanta.


His work has a lengthy exhibition history and is represented in the collections of the National Gallery-Smithsonian, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Library of Congress, Cleveland Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Whitney Museum, Bibliothèque nationale de France, and the Albertina Museum. Leo Katz died in the Bronx, New York in November of 1982.