COMPASS MAGAZINE #11
COMPASS MAGAZINE #11

LEON LÖWENTRAUT Taking the art world by storm

The popularity of German artist Leon Löwentraut’s Picasso-inspired abstract paintings is surging. His canvases have been showcased in sell-out exhibitions worldwide. And he is just 19.

From a basement studio in his parents’ home near Dusseldorf, Germany, 19-year-old Leon Löwentraut paints canvases that sell for thousands of dollars and are showcased in exhibitions worldwide, from London and New York to Singapore.

In 2017, the famous Art Box gallery in Berlin hosted the young artist’s eighth exhibition, showcasing his ever-growing collection of bright, bold, abstract paintings.

The gallery, which describes Löwentraut’s work as “expressive, wild, inspiring and really positive,“ said it had planned the exhibition for some time, wanting to help the painter raise his profile beyond his native country.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to support a young, German artist,” said Nina Malinowski, the assistant manager of Art Box gallery. “We’re enjoying playing a part in his progress and watching him grow. He’s young and possesses that ‘boy next door’ vibe, who paints what he feels; people like artists that are approachable but also spread extraordinary energy.”

Upon first glance, you might mistake Löwentraut’s creations for a work by Pablo Picasso. Both share a sense of the surreal, with vibrant color palettes, flat, distorted faces, deconstructed objects and expressive linear mark-making.

Indeed, the teenager cites Picasso as his idol and role model, alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol, as well as Löwentraut’s own mother – an amateur artist who inspired him to put paint to canvas as a child.

Löwentraut’s work was first exhibited by a gallery in Munich when he was just 15. More exhibitions followed - nationally and internationally. Today he is touted as one of the hottest new prospects on the international art scene. Last year, collectors famously bought every canvas within 15 minutes of an exhibition opening at Galerie Loeffel in Basel, Switzerland.

“It’s great that such a young artist is already achieving this success,” said the gallery’s owner, Cyril Loeffel. “When you see a painting in a gallery or in your home, you don’t see the artist, you see the art and the quality of it. Art should speak for itself when you look at it and Leon’s art does, regardless of his age.”

Like many successful artists before him, Löwentraut does not have any art qualifications. His application to the Düsseldorf Art Academy was rejected, and he left high school with an average grade in art. But this has not dissuaded the teenager, who believes that art emerges from natural aptitude, not study. He credits his achievements to date to a strong work ethic and perseverance.

Löwentraut said he paints every day, mostly late into the morning, as he listens to classical music. “I’ll paint for two weeks straight, while I have my flow and ideas in my head, and then it might catch up on me and I’ll get tired and need to rest, but after a while I start to get anxious and need to paint again. But I’m always thinking about painting.”

He produces all of his work with acrylics on large canvases. Most tend to feature his trademark faces – flat, abstract depictions in bright, vivid colors. He paints friends, love interests and life experiences. Sometimes, Löwentraut said, he has a specific subject in mind; he may even have sketched something out in pencil beforehand. Usually, however, he approaches a new piece without much premeditated thought, inspired by the people and faces he has seen that day and by his fascination with gestures and facial expressions.

“IF ONE DAY MY ART CAN BE SEEN AT NEW YORK’S MOMA OR OTHER MAJOR GALLERIES IN THE WORLD, I WILL HAVE ACHIEVED MY PERSONAL DREAM.”

LEON LÖWENTRAUT

Löwentraut’s artwork expresses not only the emotions he has seen on the faces of his subjects, but his own feelings and emotions, too. “I do not like to talk about my feelings, but I can express myself on the canvas,” he said. He also can express himself online: he uses social media, including Instagram and Snapchat, to connect with his fan base and has started posting monthly videos to share his activities.

Last year, he released the Leon Löwentraut app, which gives users access to all the latest news about him, including previews of new artwork, upcoming exhibitions, exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes clips. Through the app, fans also can purchase his paintings and bid on lots in special live auctions.

So what’s next for the German wunderkind? Löwentraut said that he is already living out his dream but will continue to bring out new collections that demonstrate his evolution as an artist. He also has promised more updates to his app as he seeks to better connect with his growing fan base.
“If one day my art can be seen at New York’s MoMA or other major galleries in the world, I will have achieved my personal dream,” he said.

by Rebecca Lambert Back to top
by Rebecca Lambert

See more of the young artist's work: http://3ds.one/leon