Leopoldo Martins


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 60’s and signed important monuments in the city, influencing the beginning of Martins’ artistic trajectory.

He developed his drawing techniques during his graduation studies in design.

He was fascinated by the three-dimensional forms and started researching how to better express himself and transform his drawings into objects of reality.

It was in the beginning of the 90’s when Martins met the Brazilian modernist sculptor Sonia Ebling. Working as her pupil during almost 10 years he felt encouraged to cast his first sculptures and to dedicate his complete carrier to Fine Arts.

Leopoldo Martins’ detailed observation of nature and his passion for wild animals resulted in the development of his prestigious series “Felines”, exhibited at the National Museum of Fine Arts, in Rio de Janeiro in 2003. The success of the “Felines” series naturally promoted his evolution on the national contemporary art scene and built up his approval into the selective international contemporary art market, confirming his great talent.

Main Solo Exhibitions

2012 Cats, Galerie Ricardo Fernandes, Paris, France

2011 Xingu, Galerie Ricardo Fernandes, Paris, France

2011 The Enchanted Forest, Billettes Luthérien Cultural Centre, Paris, France

2010 Sculptures of Leopoldo Martins Inimá de Paula, Art Museum of Belo Horizonte, Brazil

2008 Sculptures, Espacio Dart Gallery, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

2006 Felinos,  MTC Art Centre, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

2003 Os Grandes Felinos, National Fine Arts Museum of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Main Collective Exhibitions

2012 16th Shanghai International Art Exhibition, Shanghai, China

2012 Art Canton, Guangzhou, China

2012 Game of Arts, Chateau Bouffémont, France

2011 15th Shanghai International Art Exhibition, Shanghai, China

2011 Cheminer d’arbre en arbre, Parc de la Bagatelle, Paris, France

2010  Guangzhou International Luxury Exhibition, Guangzhou, China

2010 14th Shanghai International Art Exhibition, Shanghai, China

2010 Pas si Bêtes, C. Peugeot Art Centre, Paris, France

2010  Animal Art Exhibition, New York, USA

2010  1er Salon des Antiquaires et d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France

2009 Felinos, S Nayla Gallery, London, UK

2009 Salon du Louvre, Carrousel du Louvre, Paris, France

2009 L’Univers Brésilien, Everarts Gallery, Paris, France

2007 Exhibit Espaco Dart Gallery with Humberto Nigi ,Belo Horizonte, Brazil

2007 Esculturas e Objetos, Aide Art Gallery, Nova Lima, Brazil

2004 Sculpture by the Sea, Sidney, Australia

2002 Escultores Brasileiros MV Art Gallery, Belo Horizonte, Brasil

2000 Primeiras Peças with Sonia Ebling, Brazilian National Theater, Brasília, Brazil

1985 Exhibit, Anne Plumb Gallery, with Eduard Steven Plate, NY, USA

1984 Exhibit Warren and La Rosa, with Rafael Morales, NY, USA


2010 Pas si Bêtes, Artist of Honor, at Peugeot Art Centre, Paris, France

2009 Académie des Arts Sciences et Lettres, Paris, France

2006 Artist of Honor Forma Sculpture Week at Mallmann Gallery, Porto Alegre, Brazil


Mutant Felines

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’s 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. Suprising, 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.

Celeno Ivanovo (Brazilian Architect)

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 esthetics or beauty¨.

Carmen Mayrink Veiga (Brazilian Business Woman)

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 beaty 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.

Carlos Perktold (Psychoanalyst, member of the Psychoanalytic Circle of Minas Gerais and of the Brazilian Association of Art Critics – A.M.C.A.)