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Leon Dabo Portrait

Leon Dabo

Also Known as: Leon Scott Dabo, Leon Schott, Leon Schotte de Dabo, Leon Dagsburg de Dabo

Paris, France 1865

New York, New York 1960

Active in:

  • London, England
  • Detroit, Michigan

Photo Caption:
Courtesy Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

Luce Artist Biography

Leon Dabo apprenticed in his father’s Detroit studio, then divided his time between Paris and New York. He studied with the artist Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes, who advised him to learn decorative arts because “if you don’t you won’t eat and you will die.” Dabo focused on architectural decoration until the early 1900s, when he was invited to exhibit his landscapes in New York. (Pancza, “Leon Scott Dabo,” in Artists of Michigan from the Nineteenth Century, 1987) He painted broad views of mountains and rivers that emphasized the changing effects of light on the landscape. These images, which show nature in soft, glowing colors, appealed to nineteenth-century Americans, who saw the countryside gradually disappearing as a result of industrialization.