Little known side of artist revealed
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 08:53 am
A foothills art gallery is revealing a lesser-known side of a renowned artist its facility is named after.
The Leighton Art Centre is unveiling architectural designs of homes and furniture and other projects created by Alfred Crocker (A.C.) Leighton displayed inside the home he designed and built. The exhibit features paintings, photographs of houses he designed, architectural drawings and a display of wooden toy prototypes.
An opening reception takes place on Oct. 12 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“We’ve been thinking about this for a long time,” said executive director Tony Luppino. “This is the first time we’ve gone public with a lot of material people haven’t seen. We’ve always known they were there but nobody thought to bring them out. It’s been neglected for almost 100 years.”
Luppino said Leighton, who was born in 1900 and passed in 1965, was known for his mountain and landscape paintings, yet few knew of his architecture work.
“He did do a lot of drawings of homes and of structures,” he said. “It will be a real revelation for so many people to see the architect and designer side of A.C. Leighton and how it affected his painting.”
Leighton had a lot of outside influences in his work including Asian and European architecture, said Luppino.
“He did a lot of paintings in England of windmills and of heritage or older villages in England,” he said. “He built a spiral staircase based on the staircases in windmills. He brought a lot of these heritage and design elements. In the ’20s we underestimate the influence that really avant-garde European art had on him.”
Luppino said he is aware of three homes Leighton designed, built and lived in. One is in Crescent Beach, B.C. and the other two are in Calgary.
“What’s really strange is he built all of these houses almost exactly the same,” he said, adding some were built decades apart. “It’s really quite interesting to see that he always built the same house.”
The Leighton Art Centre home was built in 1953, at the time Leighton became a full-time painter, Luppino said.
“Once he got here painting really overtook everything,” he said. “What’s really fun is when you think back to it in western culture artists were architects.”
Although this is the Leighton Art Centre’s first attempt at exhibiting an extended version of Leighton’s work, it won’t be the last, Luppino said.
“We hope to do some research over the next year and develop a larger exhibition to take to museums across Canada and make A.C. Leighton more known,” he said. “We want to find out what we can about his architecture work.”
Luppino said the exhibit at the Leighton Art Centre will be on display throughout the fall and into the winter. For more information go to www.leightoncentre.org.