Le Roy Turner: Cubism & the Modern Figure

The Abstraction Création Years


January 16th - January 31st, 2020

R. Leroy Turner is recognized for his vibrant Modern abstractions completed from the late 1920s through the early 1950s. His artwork emphasizes a lyrical form of Cubism, often inspired by visual interpretations of classical music. Many of his compositions are titled after specific pieces of music, and frequently they include themes of melodic symbols, devices and musical scores.

Born in Sherwood, ND in 1905, Turner spent much of his childhood living in Minnesota. In Minneapolis, LeRoy Turner studied painting at the University of Minnesota with the noted artists and instructors, Cameron Booth and Edmund Kinzinger. Towards the late 1920s, Turner became highly influenced by the paintings styles of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris, and Paul Klee. In 1928 he traveled to Europe to further his art studies in Munich and Paris. While painting in Europe he continued his association with both instructors Booth and Kinzinger. Returning to the United States, Turner joined the faculty of the St. Paul School of Art in St Paul, MN, where he became a painting instructor from 1933 to 1936. In 1935, to favored reviews, Turner exhibited his abstract paintings at a one-man show at the Nash-Conley Galleries in Minneapolis.

In 1936, Turner and fellow artist Alexander Corazzo joined the prestigious European avant-garde painting group, Abstraction-Création. Founded in Paris in 1931 to counteract the rise of Surrealism, this influential organization of painters and sculptors, which included Piet Mondrian, Jean Arp and Albert Gleizes, among others, aimed to promote the concepts of Modern geometric, non-figurative abstract painting. The group emphasized a synthesis of formal line, color and purity, incorporating the concepts of non-objective painting, Cubism and abstraction. Turner and Corazzo were two of a very select number of American artists accepted into the group, which also included Alexander Calder and Carl Holty. Turner exhibited with Abstraction-Création, which included two paintings in 1936, showing under the single name “Leroy”.

Leroy Turner suffered from chronic poor health through much of his adult life. While many of his American colleagues from Abstraction-Création, such as Calder, Holty and Corazzo, continued to exhibit and travel extensively, Turner returned to Minneapolis to become a full-time art instructor and administrator. From 1936-1948 Tuner became a respected teacher of painting at the University of Minnesota. During the Second World War, from 1940-1942, he served as the Assistant Director at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Later in his life he became a painting and sculpture instructor at the Stillwater Art Colony in Minnesota from 1938-1950. Turner died in 1957 in Stillwater, MN at the age of 52.

  • Turner 4374
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Untitled (Two Nudes), ca. 1935
    Watercolor and ink on paper
    8 1/2 x 11 inches
    #4374
  • Turner 4372
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Untitled (Standing Figure), ca. 1935
    Ink on paper
    13 x 8 1/2 inches
    #4372
  • Turner 9807
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Oberon, ca. 1930s
    Ink and graphite on paper
    11 x 8 1/2 inches

    Signed LeRoy Turner, lower right; titled lower left.

    #9807
  • Turner 4378
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Untitled (Head of a Woman), 1930
    Pastel on paper
    11 x 8 1/2 inches

    Signed and dated R.L. Turner ‘30, lower right.

    #4378
  • Turner 4304
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    AB 41, ca. 1930s
    Graphite on paper
    11 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches

    Signed Le Roy Turner and titled lower left.

    #4304
  • Turner 9897
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Figure Study (Seated Nude), ca. 1932
    Charcoal on paper
    14 x 10 inches
    #9897
  • Turner 9891
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Untitled (Seated Man), ca. 1932
    Graphite on paper
    11 x 8 1/2 inches

    Signed R Le Roy Turner, lower right.

    #9891
  • Turner 9898
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Untitled (Seated Man), ca. 1932
    Ink on paper
    14 x 10 inches

    Signed LeRoy Turner, lower right.

    #9898
  • Turner 4369
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Untitled (Woman Seated), ca. 1930s
    Watercolor, ink, and graphite on paper
    11 x 8 1/2 inches
    #4369
  • Turner 9964
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Figure Study (Three Graces), ca. 1932
    Watercolor, ink and graphite on paper
    11 x 8 1/2 inches
    #9964
  • Turner 4368
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Untitled (Two Figures), ca. 1930s
    Pastel, ink, charcoal and graphite on paper
    11 x 8 1/2 inches
    #4368
  • Turner 4363
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Two Nudes, ca. 1930s
    Graphite on paper
    11 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches
    #4363
  • Turner 4349
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Untitled (Standing Nude), ca. 1930s
    Pastel on paper
    11 x 8 1/2 inches
    #4349
  • Turner 4353
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Untitled (Nude), ca. 1930s
    Pastel and ink on paper
    11 x 8 1/2 inches

    Signed and numbered LeRoy Turner AB 63, upper left.

    #4353
  • Turner 4351
    R. LeRoy Turner
    American, 1905 - 1957
    Untitled (Two Nudes), ca. 1930s
    Pastel and ink on paper
    11 x 8 1/2 inches
    #4351

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