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Alfred Leslie

American, 1927-2023


Curating Works


Alfred Leslie was born in the Bronx, New York in 1927 to German immigrant parents. He exhibited talent in drawing, photography, and filmmaking at a young age, and studied art on the G.I. Bill at New York University following a stint in the Coast Guard. An accomplished body builder and gymnast, he funded additional classes at the Art Students League of New York and Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute by modeling at both schools. Leslie’s films of this time, such as 1949’s Magic Thinking, collaged snippets of home movies, industrial and commercial footage, and cartoons. His Directions: A Walk After the War Games, made around the same time, was shown at the MoMA in New York. Leslie continued painting, concurrent with his filmmaking in the 1940s. Though his early geometric abstractions earned him places in important New York exhibitions, including the Kootz Gallery, the Ninth Street Show, and Tibor de Nagy. Leslie was also a regular at the Cedar Tavern, the hangout of Pollock and de Kooning. His work has been widely exhibited nationally and internationally and is included in the permanent collections of Whitney, Metropolitan, Metropolitan, MoMA, Hirshhorn Museum, and National Gallery of Art.