Leo Stopfer (15 May 1964) is an Austrian artist who widely acclaimed as the "Painter of the Ballet-Stars". He is especially identified with the subject of ballet; more than half of his works depict famous dancers with world names.
Early life and art techniques
- 1979 – first drawings;
- 1981 – inspired by Picassos works he starts painting with oil-color;
- 1982 – first personal exhibition;
- 1989/90 — "The earth has a skin" (German: Die Erde hat eine Haut) – organic abstract paintings in his special mixed technique (with soil, stones, sand and dry plants mixed with acrylic- or oil-colors he creates a relief on canvas) is the main part of his work till 2009.
In 1989 Leo Stopfer created his first pastels paintings and drawings of the ballerina Mitra Nayeri.
Later Stopfer made the ballet one of the main themes of his art. Cooperating with many dancers for many years he created a plenty of paintings depicting the ballerinas of 20–21 centuries. Among them are such grandees of the world ballet scene as Diana Vishneva (the Mariinsky Theatre), Olga Smirnova and Evgenia Obraztsova (Bolshoi Theatre), Vladimir Malakhov (Berlin State Ballet), Maria Abashova (Ballet Theatre of Boris Eifman), Maria Yakovleva (Vienna State Ballet) and Isabelle Ciaravola and Ludmila Pagliero (Opera de Paris).
Since his first exhibition in 1982, Stopfer's work has been exhibited all around the Europe, including London, Vienna, Berlin, Moscow, Luxembourg.
Leo Stopfer was the first artist to being invited by the KLIMT VILLA in 2017 to work in the original studio where the master Gustav Klimt lived and worked. The result of this work were dozens of drawings and a large number of women's portraits united under the title "my muses" (German: meine Musen). This series of works was presented at the personal exhibition of Leo Stopfer in the KLIMT VILLA Vienna in May 2018.
His current solo exhibition take place at the Vienna State Opera. On the invitation of the directorate of the Vienna State Opera, Leo Stopfer presents to the public an exhibition of his works capturing dancers of the house.
Earlier the artist was painting landscapes in an organic-abstract style, using a mixed Impasto technique. He combined earth, sand and stones with acrylic paint to develop a relief-like texture.
The artist like to work with acrylic combined with pencil. He also sometimes works with mixed media, using gouache when the ballerinas dance on his canvas to make prints with their feet.
In his works, the artist trying to express a portion of the dancer's energy. The models depicted by Leo Stopfer are always characterized by heightened sensuality and frankness.