William Leizman Biography

William Leizman




William Leizman, sculptor, painter, printmaker, and assemblage artist, was born on 16 February 1926 in Baltimore, Maryland. His father, Leon Joseph Leizman, was a Russian-born US citizen who plied his trade as a tailor and clothing designer.

Leizman completed four years of study at Forest Park High School before enlisting in the U.S. Army on 15 May 1944. After his discharge, he majored in liberal arts at the Maryland Institute on the GI Bill, and in 1948 he attended the University of Maryland College Park. Leizman also studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and was enrolled in summer courses with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown.

In 1950, he and a friend boarded a freighter for Europe, landing in Antwerp, Belgium. They then hitchhiked to Paris where Leizman studied for two years with Fernand Leger as well as with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17. Leizman partially funded his stay in Paris by giving a gallery on Rue de Seine five paintings in exchange for an upstairs studio and living space. A chance meeting with the Aga Khan III at a Parisian racetrack in 1951 led Khan to purchase a painting a few days later. The painting, however, was still on commission with the gallery and therefore of no monetary gain to the starving artist. The Muslim leader then went upstairs to buy two more, this time assuring Leizman could continue to live and work in some comfort (Baltimore, The Evening Sun, October 16, 1951).

Leizman returned to Baltimore on 8 December 1952. He focused on sculptural works and taught painting classes to the public. His sculptures included found-object assemblages and architectural commissions, including a tall steel windscreen for Penn Station in Baltimore. He also created a steel sculpture for the grounds of the George W. F. McMechen School in Baltimore. In May 1954, Leizman was included in an exhibition at the Y.M.H.A. Building on West Monument Street which was sponsored by the Jewish Community Center. Many references to Leizman labeled him an outsider artist and found-object sculptor.

In the late 1970s, Leizman purchased a three-story building, a former carriage house, and transformed it into a workspace and gallery that he maintained for several decades. Among the works he created in the space was a 14 by 18' acrylic painting donated to a fundraiser for the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting in 1973.

In his later years he relocated to Palm Beach, Florida, where he worked and exhibited until his death on 6 April 2011.

Selected Exhibitions: 
1954 - Prints by William Leizman, The Baltimore Museum of Art, MD
1967 - Mechanic Theater, Baltimore, MD (retrospective)
1970 - Hendler Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD
1971 - Easton's Academy of the Arts, Baltimore, MD
1982 - Revelations Gallery, Baltimore, MD
1986 - Temple Oheb Shalom, Baltimore, MD
2006 - Kaplan Jewish Community Center, West Palm Beach, FL
2009 - Form in Space - A Series of Abstract Paintings by William Leizman, Student Resources Atrium, Florida Atlantic University, Jupiter

Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland.

Purchase Prize, Maryland Artists Annual Exhibition; Loyola College Fall Art Show (honorable mention), 1980