John Leonard Beck (1917 - )

Birth date: 5/17/1917 Death date:  
Birth location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Death location:  
Media: Painting Web site:
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John Leonard Beck
Born 1917 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Beck’s childhood had a strong influence on his path to becoming an artist.  His family spoke only German at home, and his heavily accented English was the cause of unmerciful teasing by other boys.  To avoid this teasing Beck stayed at home and made pictures instead of playing outside.

After Beck graduated from Washington High school he studied and graduated from Layton School of Art from 1935-1939. Miriam Frink, his instructor at Layton, was quoted as saying, “even as a freshman at Layton he had his own distinctive manner of expression.”  Beck also studied sculpture under Milwaukee sculptor, Dick Wiken.

Using the floor as an easel, Beck said he painted abstractions because he liked to do precise draftmanship and then arrange patterns out of complex shapes.  In 1948, Beck won a prize for his painting Mahu exhibited in the University of Illinois competition of Contemporary American Painting.  His interpretation of Wisconsin from the air is titled Ariel Kaleidoscope and became part of the Gimbels Brothers collection in 1951. Beck was a member of Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors.

The paintings of John Leonard Beck can be found in the permanent collections of the University of WI - Madison Union Art Center, University of WI - Milwaukee, Milwaukee Art Museum, Marquette University (Milwuakee, WI), the University of Illinois - Champaign - Urbana, Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, Wisconsin and various private collections.

Selected Group Exhibitions

1946 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors Thirty-Third Annual Exhibition of Wisconsin Art
1948 Layton Art Gallery, Wisconsin State Centennial Exhibition of contemporary Wisconsin Art
1948,49,50 Art Institute of Chicago, AIC Annual Exhibitions
1949 Milwaukee Art Institute, Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors 35th Annual Exhibition of Wisconsin Art
1951 Gimbels Brothers, Wisconsin Airscape and Landscape
Milwaukee Art Center,  Wisconsin Artists 1855 Until Today
1965 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Priebe Collection - Study in Fantasy
2010-2011 Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, Wisconsin, 170 Years of Wisconsin Art

Wisconsin Affiliations

No affiliations were found.

Wisconsin Art Organizations

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