Posted by: Frederick Cornwell Sanders | 2012/01/10

Leopold Meiersdorff, a Remembrance

We all find something that clicks in our memory when we see, hear, and/or use our senses.

The other day, I was cataloging artworks in the collection.   Leopold Meiersdorff’s pen and ink wash was in the queue to be examined.   I brought this piece in the 1990s from a consignment store in Laguna Beach, California.   From what the sales lady said, Leo had given her the art piece due to their acquaintanceship.   I cannot remember if they were more than that – acquaintances.   I vaguely remember some debt to be repaid.

The purchase price was reasonable considering the piece was very attractively composed.   So, I was quick to take advantage of what I thought was a bargain at the time.   Meiersdorff and I had a distant link.   That link, New Orleans jazz, was the subject of the pen and ink wash.   Meiersdorff’s work, I discovered later, was on display at Mimi’s in the Los Angeles area and the The French Quarter Restaurant at French Market Place in West Hollywood, California.

Quoting from the The French Quarter Restaurant’s website:

“Much of the artwork contained in our website and throughout our restaurant was created by artist, Leo Meiersdorff.   Leo was born in Germany in 1934.   He was a master student of Oskar Kokoschka in Austria and other late Bauhaus painters at the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts.   In order to finance his artistic studies, Leo began to perform jazz throughout Europe.   (He’d become quite the jazz enthusiast in his early years listening to American jazz on the Armed Forces radio network.)   When Norman Granz started promoting American Jazz in Europe, Leo entered a piece which became his first album cover.   His love for jazz brought him to the United States in 1957 where he would eventually meet and paint such artists as Duke Ellington, Paul Desmond and Dizzy Gillespie.   In 1975, when the Simms family traveled to New Orleans, they discovered Leo’s artwork and at that time began incorporating it into the restaurant.”

English: Norman Granz, ca. May 1947. Photograp...

Mimi’s Cafe, at one time, was associated with the Simms family.   They brought Meiersdorff’s works to enhance the interior themes of some the rooms within each of the cafes. The owners also used Leo’s works for the menu designs.   The colorful art definitely added to the positive atmosphere.

As I have completed the inventory, I thought you all would like to see this untitled piece.



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