Late Afternoon (North Carolina)

Leo Meissner

Leo Meissner (1895-1977) was born in Hamtramck, Michigan in the heart of the newly industrialized areas around Detroit. He enrolled at age fifteen in the Detroit Fine Art Academy where he studied with John P. Wicker (1860-1931). The exigencies of study without a scholarship or much financial support from his Bohemian immigrant parents, led young Leo to have to balance schooling in art with working odd jobs. He made his way from about 1910 until he enlisted in World War I between learning about art under Wicker and working to support his schooling. On the troop ship to France, Meissner fell in love with the turbulent swells of the Atlantic and decided that it would be a fine subject for painting. He pursued the sea as a major theme in his painting and printmaking for the rest of his life. After the war, Meissner continued to study at the Detroit Fine Art Academy where he won a scholarship to the Art Students League in New York. There he was able to study painting with Robert Henri and George Luks. With his new-found skills he got a job as assistant art director on the magazine Charm. By 1923 he was established enough at his job and had saved enough money to take a vacation. He had heard that the coast of Maine would provide good subject matter for a young artist who wanted to sharpen his skills in drawing and painting rocks, surf, and sea. After the night boat to Boston he headed to Boothbay Harbor, Maine and shortly thereafter took a fishing boat to Monhegan Island.

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