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Leon Sorkin (1914 - 1987)

Leon Sorkin was born in 1914 in Philadelphia, to an immigrant family from Konotop, Ukraine.  His family moved to Minneapolis in 1916 where his parents purchased a two-bedroom home in North Minneapolis for $6,000.  Sorkin was well known in Minneapolis as an accomplished portrait, landscape and still life painter … and he especially loved painting homes in his North Minneapolis neighborhood.   


He began painting while attending North High School.  At first, he wanted to be a cartoonist, but then he enrolled in the Minneapolis School of Art and earned many scholarships … and graduated with honors in 1939. 


During the 1940s he painted murals for the WPA. He also was an art instructor at the Walker Art Center (1940-45) and the Wayzata Art Center (1950-55).  One of his paintings, “Comic Page,” a picture of a girl reading the comics, was acquired by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for its permanent collection.


In 1982, a 50-year retrospective exhibit of his work was held at the Minneapolis JCC.  Leon Sorkin passed away in 1987, at the age of 73.  He exhibited his art at the Minnesota State Fair, 1943; Minneapolis Institute of Art, 1943-45; St. Paul Art Gallery, 1945 and the Minneapolis Women’s Club, 1945.

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