Florence Leif (1913 - 1968)


Florence Leif

By the 1950’s Florence Leif (1913 - 1968) settled into a “modern” period producing bold canvases and watercolors with slashing brush strokes and pulsating color. Profoundly influenced by her travels through Europe and a lifetime of exposure to innovative Provincetown painters, Leif left behind her traditional past and embraced the spirit of painterly experimentation. American modernists such as John Marin dominated the art scene advocating a fresh perspective in painting moving toward a highly personal and dis-associative view of nature. Leif took on this challenge creating a world on canvas of velvet twilights, ethereal figures and gothic landscapes. Whether Leif stained, carved out, or built up her surfaces with paint, she stands out a great colorist throughout her career particularly evident in her flower and still life studies that will be on view. Her remarkable work distinguishes her from fellow Rhode Island artists both in subject matter and style.

Florence Leif graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1934 and married fellow painter Gordon Peers, a successful RISD professor. Her career as a painter suddenly came to an end when a brain tumor took her life in 1968 at the age of 55. Bert Galley has worked with the estate of this artist for the past ten years cataloguing and exhibiting her works. A survey exhibit was held at the gallery in 2003. This latest exhibit further investigates the significant talent of Florence Leif and her uncompromising artistic vision. For more information call (401) 751-2628

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