Leon Kelly was born in Philadelphia, Pa., 1901, of Spanish-Irish descent. Studied under Jean Auguste Adolphe, Alexandre Portinoff, Arthur Carles and Earl Horter. Horter's interest in Cubism, his private collection of paintings and books and friendship for Kelly strongly influenced the abstract paintings of the early years (1919-1925). Lived in Paris 1924-1930. Thereafter several periods of work in France, Spain, Portugal, North Africa. He died, 1982, in Loveladies, New Jersey at the age of 81.


One man exhibitions:

Galerie du Printemps, Paris, 1926
Contemporary Arts, N.Y., 1933
Julian Levy, New York (5 one man shows) 1942, 1944, 1945
Hugo Gallery, New York, 1950 (3 one-man shows–1 with Cecil Beaton
and 1 with Matta and Hans Bellmer)
Galeria Amici de Francia, Milano, Italy, 1954
Edwin Hewitt Gallery, New York, 1956
Alexandre Iolas Gallery, New York, 1959, 1961 (one-man shows)
Long Beach Island Foundation of Arts and Sciences, New Jersey, 1962
Zabriskie Gallery, New York, 1963 (also one man shows in Philadelphia)
Pennsylvania Academy's Peale House Gallery, Philadelphia, 1967
Richard Feigen Gallery, Chicago, 1970
Iolas Gallery, New York, 1972
Washburn Gallery, New York, February 1981
Berry-Hill Galleries, Inc., New York, NY, April 8 - May 8, 1999
Dual Exhibition: Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, LLC, New York, NY, and
Gratz Gallery & Conservation Studio, New Hope, PA, April 16-June 5, 2009
Martha Richardson Fine Art, Boston, MA, October 19, 2019-January 31, 2020


Group Exhibitions:

Galerie Fabre, Paris, 1927 with Fautrier and others
European International, 1927 (French Section)
Galeris van Leer, Paris, 1928
Century of Progress, World's Fair, Chicago, 1933
College Art Association., 1933
Traveling Show Italian Ballet, 1944
Julian Levy Gallery 1944, 'Imagery of Chess'
California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1945
Hugo Gallery, 1950 with Matta and Bellmer
also included in Annuals, Whitney Museum, Carnegie, Nebraska,
Carngie International, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Worcester and others.
Newark Museum: New Jersey Artists, 1968
Feigen Gallery, Chicago, 1968 with Tchelichew
Newark Museum: "Four New Jersey Artists", 1969
Graham Gallery, New York, 1969



Cresson Traveling Scholarship from the Pennsylvania
Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia in 1924
William and Nora Copley Award, 1958 (made without competition
by Jury of Roland Penrose, Dariss Milhaud, Alfred Barr, Max Ernst,
Matta Eschaurren Arp, Sir Herbert Read).


Public Collections:

Museum of Modern Art, New York
Whitney Museum, New York
Wadsworth Athheneum, Connecticut
Munsin-Williams Proctor Institute, Utica, New York
Addison Gallery, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pa
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska
Tel Aviv Museum, Israel
La France Institute, Philadelphia, Pa
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pa

Retrospective 1920-65, Feb. 1965 at International Gallery, Baltimore, MD



Leon Kelly: American Surrealist, Exhibition Catalog
Berry-Hill Galleries Inc., 1999

Leon Kelly: An American Surrealist
Martica Sawin, 2008

Leon Kelly: Draftsman Extraordinaire
Francis M. Naumann, 2014