The sculptor Leopoldo Martins was born in 1961 in Brazil.
His uncle Meschesse, founded the Sculpture Department of the Fine Arts School at the State Federal University during the 1960’s and signed important monuments in the city, influencing the beginning of Martins’ artistic interest and trajectory. Young, Leopoldo Martins started studying art and design and soon developed his drawing techniques. He graduated 1982 in Industrial Design at the Fine Arts School at the same State Federal University founded by his uncle.
He was always fascinated by three-dimensional forms and started researching how to better express himself and how to transform his drawings into three-dimensional-objects bringing it to reality.
It was in the beginning of the 90’s when Martins met the Brazilian modernist sculptor Sonia Ebling. Leopoldo Martins worked as her pupil during almost ten years to finally feel encouraged to cast his first sculptures and to dedicate his complete carrier to Fine Arts as an sculptor.
The artist detailed observation of nature and his passion for wild animals resulted in the development of his first prestigious series “Felines”, exhibited at The National Museum of Fine Arts of Rio de Janeiro in 2003 supported by his tutor Sonia Ebling that has guided him to his first pieces. The success of the “Felines” series was then immediate and naturally promoted his evolution on the national contemporary art scene building up his approval into the selective national and international contemporary art market, confirming his great talent. Later on, as a result of his trajectory, he started many new artistic projects, consolidating himself as a sculptor.
In 2016 he was commissioned by the Jesuit Order of Minas Gerais State, Brazil, to create the (diptych) sculpture Saint Francis and the Wolf of Gubbio, a gift to Pope Francis, that will be installed at the Vatican City in Europe. His works also belong to important collections in Brazil like The Brennan Art Collection in Recife, Brazil. His works are also part of the collection of The National Museum of Fine Arts of Rio de Janeiro, one of the most respected art institutions of the country where he first introduced his art creations to the public together with his tutor, Sonia Ebling.
Today Leopoldo Martins is one of the most important contemporary sculptors of the country, having followed the historical saga of great professionals of his State, historically started with the Master of Baroque Art of Brazil, Aleijadinho (1730 – 1814). Leopoldo Martins contemporary work is a blend of all interesting aspects of Brazilian Art, influenced by Baroque, Modernism and internationalism that helps us to understand the History of this melt pot called South America.
Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC), NY, USA
International Association of Art Critics (A(CA), Paris, France
Association for Art History (AAH), London, UK
Main Solo Exhibitions
Musas, Nigra Shafo, São José do Rio Preto, Brazil
Aqua – Cristal, Ponteio, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Animal Memory, Consulate General of France, São Paulo, Brazil
Show Bolt, São Paulo, Brazil
Squini Art, São Paulo, Brazil
Sculptures Leopoldo Martins, Lisie Mallmann Gallery, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Felinos, Ricardo Fernandes Gallery, Paris, France
Yacht Club of Ilhabela Art Show, São Paulo, Brazil
Leopoldo Martins at the Hípica de São Paulo Show, São Paulo, Brazil
Muses at The State of Minas Gerais Government Palace, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Art Aspen, Wynwood Art Group, Aspen, USA
Cats, Ricardo Fernandes Gallery, Paris, France
Xingu, Ricardo Fernandes Gallery, Paris, France
The Enchanted Forest, Cloître des Billettes Cultural Center, Paris, France
Leopoldo Martins, Inimá de Paula Art Museum (MIP BH), Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Sculptures, Espacio Dart Gallery, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Felinos, MTC Art Center, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Os Grandes Felinos, The National Fine Arts Museum of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Main Collective Exhibitions
aestival 07 Contemporary Art Summer Show, Cloître des Billettes Art Center, Paris, France
Zilda Fratelli Gallery, Curitiba, Brazil
aestival 06 Contemporary Art Summer Show, Cloître des Billettes Art Center, Paris, France
Zilda Fratelli Gallery, Curitiba, Brazil
Galeria Art Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
Vianna Gallery, Boca Raton, USA
Wynwood Art Group, Miami, USA
Expoarte, Brasília, Brazil
The Colors of Brazil – Johnson & Johnson, Paris, France
Art Walk Miami, Wynwood Gallery, Miami, USA
Prime Art Selection, Ricardo Fernandes Gallery, Paris, France
Collective Summer Exhibition, Ricardo Fernandes Gallery, Paris, France
16th Shanghai International Art Exhibition, Shanghai, China
Art Canton, Guangzhou, China
Game of Arts, Chateau Bouffémont, Bouffémont, France
15th Shanghai International Art Exhibition, Shanghai, China
Cheminer d’arbre en arbre, Bagatelle Parc, Paris, France
Guangzhou International Luxury Exhibition, Guangzhou, China
14th Shanghai International Art Exhibition, Shanghai, China
Pas si Bêtes, Peugeot Art Center, Paris, France
Animal Art Exhibition, New York, USA
1er Salon des Antiquaires et d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France
Felinos, S Nayla Gallery, London, UK
Salon du Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, France
L’Univers Brésilien, Everarts Gallery, Paris, France
Leopoldo Martins and Humberto Nigi at Espaço D’art Gallery, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Esculturas e Objetos, Aide Art Gallery, Nova Lima, Brazil
Sculpture by the Sea, Sidney, Australia
Escultores Brasileiros MV Art Gallery, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Leopoldo Martins and Sonia Ebling – First Artworks, Brasília National Theater, Brasília, Brazil
Leopoldo Martins and Eduard Steven, Anne Plumb Gallery, NY, USA
Leopoldo Martins and Rafael Morales, Warren and La Rosa, NY, USA
2010 Pas si Bêtes – Animal Art Exhibition, Artist of Honor at Peugeot Art Center, Paris, France
2009 Académie des Arts Sciences et Lettres – Brazilian Contemp. Artists of The Year, Paris, France
2006 Artist of Honor at Forma Sculpture Week at Mallmann Gallery, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Main Galleries, Museums and Institutions Art Collections
Arte Aplicada Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil
DotArt Gallery, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Getty Museum, Los Angeles, USA
Instituto Brennan, Recife, Brazil
Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil
Milú Vilela Collection, São Paulo, Brazil
Gerdau Minas e Metais Museum (MM Gerdau), Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Pope Francis Collection at The State of Vatican City, Vatican City
Ricardo Fernandes Gallery, Paris, France
Sociedade Hípica de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
The National Fine Arts Museum of Rio de Janeiro (MNBA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Wuhan Park of Central China, Wuhan, China
Zilda Fraletti Gallery, Curitiba, Brazil
Main Private Art Collections
Andréa Bocelli, Roma, Italy
Bruce Winter, New York, USA
Carmen Merick Veiga, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fausto Silva (Faustão), São Paulo, Brazil
Flávia Alessandra, São Paulo, Brazil
Hebe Camargo, São Paulo, Brazil
Gisele Bündchen, Los Angeles, USA
Otaviano Costa, São Paulo, Brazil
Ivete Sangalo, São Paulo, Brazil
Joe Milton, Miami, USA
Paula Lima, São Paulo, Brazil
Pascale Lismonde, Paris, France
Richard Meyer, Miami, US
As an expression of the soul, or perhaps as an extension of it, the act of designing flows naturally from the hands of Leopoldo Martins by means of lines, light and shadow. A restive young man and a shrewd observer, he seeks incessantly to quench his visual appetite for good design, for beauty, for good form. This visual appetite transforms itself into power, sensuality, the thrill of the hunt, and finds its personification in the taunt muscles and agile movements of the world’s great cats, another of the artist’s passions.
Leopoldo Martins’ sculpture is sincere and rooted in the depths of desire. However, it extrapolates common sense, uses and exploits the shapes of untamed existence in its rawest state: breath held in abeyance, a silent roar, sinewy muscles ready to lunge. Hunger ready to be satisfied. This is the feeling of the great cats, apex of the food chain, at the moment of the attack. Leopoldo captures this tension and, thereby, satisfies his own hunger for form.
Not satisfied, the artist shuffles the world of appearances. Confuses normal senses, causes mass to arise from corporal feeling. Transforms desire, hunger. Changes mass. Mutants! The vigor of the hunter is frozen in the limit of form: tension is petrified in the lines: and action is metamorphosed. Surprising, unexpected distortions: lines contort and twist to better offer themselves to the eyes. Strokes define vague, nebulous shadows, and what was savage becomes subtle.
Modern work, unique. Born from powerful, transforming hands. Hands that are the tools of the restive, renovating, transmogrifying soul of Leopoldo Martins.
Brazilian Architect and Art Collector
The Great Cats
Cats are indomitable in terms of their mysterious, magical and agile beauty. Not one of the best top models can manage to walk like a black panther, with its grand, indolent stride, giving a perfect, sinuous definition to the word ¨sexy¨.
A passionate enthusiast of the great cats, Leopoldo Martins worked in New York as a successful jewelry designer until 1986, when he returned to Brazil to continue developing his talent and, simultaneously, begin sculpting.
Motivated by friends and admirers of his work, he decided to give in to his sculptor side. He began his current phase, creating great, important pieces, producing an almost mutant mixture based on primal forms and primordial imagination. He urges and coaxes figures to emerge from the material, inspired by the strong, agile bodies of the great cats.
I will end with a proverb from the 17th century: ¨He who doesn’t love cats has not sense of aesthetics or beauty¨.
Carmen Mayrink Veiga
Brazilian Business Woman and Art Collector
The Magnificent Cats of Leopoldo Martins
The current exposition of bronze sculptures by Leopoldo Martins is a beautiful representation of felines, in addition to being an autobiographical exercise by the artist. Inspired by animals from the family of digitigrades mammals that includes the puma, the lion, and the tiger, these sculptures reveal the strength of these felines as well as their beauty and sensuality. As a person, Leopoldo combines inner and outer beauty with congeniality and a sense of fair play. As an artist, he infuses his pieces with these qualities, adding an unparalleled talent to his sculpture through proportion, movement, the confident use of the chisel, and a bronze patina whose final results are a marvel of completion and beauty.
In the youthfulness of life, Leopoldo Martins demonstrates the maturity of a sculptor who has come to stay.
Member of the Psychoanalytic Circle of Minas Gerais
Member of the State Association of Art Critics (AMCA)
Books and Catalogs About the Artist
Cats – Leopoldo Martins, 2010
By Jacob Kintowitz, São Paulo, Brazil
Leopoldo Martins – The Enchanted Forest, 2011
By Ricardo Fernandes and Any Collin, Paris, France
Muses – Leopoldo Martins, 2015
By Pascale Lismonde, Paris, France