Telluride Gallery of Fine Art: Malcolm Liepke, Artist Talk, 9/6

Telluride Gallery of Fine Art: Malcolm Liepke, Artist Talk, 9/6

The Telluride Gallery of Fine Art welcomes back Malcolm Liepke, illustrator and painter for over 40 years, for a solo exhibition and an artist’s talk during Telluride Arts’ Art Walk, Thursday, September 6, 6 p.m. Liepke is internationally recognized for his figurative work featuring cool skin tones and sultry expressions. Go here for more on Art Walk.

Arms Overhead, Liepke.

Malcolm “Skip” Liepke was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the unabridged honesty that comes with Midwestern roots shows up in his work. Largely self-taught, Liepke paints in a style that reflects the work of other sensuous painters of women  – John Singer Sargent, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Diego Velázquez, and James McNeill Whistler, among others – to create portraits that are at once visually familiar, yet wholly his own.

Liepke is an unapologetic realist, who favors studies of ordinary people whom he places in glamorous contexts, namely, center stage of his oils. The artist creates his images, these freshly minted portraits, with loose brushstrokes and dusty gray-green skin tones using a wet-on-wet technique borrowed from artists like Sargent and Velázquez in which layers of oil paint are built up without drying in between. The work has evolved into a patented cocktail of sensuality and draftsmanly stylishness: definitely PG-13, as much for what comes through the surface as what’s on it: Liepke’s people own their sensuality, which they convey through simple gestures and pointed expressions.

Chin Up, Liepke


Young Man, Liepke.


Striped Bed, Liepke.


Close Couple, Liepke.


Blue Stocking Hat, Liepke

Horizontal or vertical, supine or prone, each of the players in Liepke’s world somehow manages to engage us with a look that would melt steel – or, engaged with each other, they look away in indifference. The words “luscious”,” “juicy,” “languid”  and “in your face honesty” come to mind in describing the artist’s new body of work (pun intended), on display through September 14 at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art.

Liepke’s true gift, his real magic, however, is a talent for revealing something more, something evanescent: the inner life of his subjects. The artist’s primary goal is to capture emotions that vanish before they can be named or tamed. No wonder Liepke’s bravura paintings can be found in the permanent collections of the National Academy of Design, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Smithsonian, as well as in the private collections of celebrities from Barbra Streisand to Donna Karan.

Veil, Malcolm Liepke at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art


Tough Kid, Liepke.

Liepke is known to quote a legend scrawled on the back of a Rembrandt: “I yield to no one.” But we, the spectators in the thrall of Liepke’s sirens yield once again to the artist’s smoking brush.

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