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Harvey Leepa was born in Lepaya, Russia in 1887. He traveled widely in Europe as a young man and studied in Paris at the Académie Julian, École des Beaux Arts and Académie de la Grande Chaumière, as well as in Spain and Germany. In 1919 he emigrated to the United States where he first settled in New York City, maintaining a studio and teaching at Columbia University for a few years. Subsequently he designed sets for the theatre, moved to Los Angles to work in the film industry, and finally settled in 1942 in Santa Barbara where he remained for the rest of his life.
Leepa first began to experiment with his self-titled 'Fluxism' style of painting in 1937. Where he had been painting in an expressionist style before, he now began to allow the paint to flow freely across water-saturated paper, reflecting Surrealist ideas of automatism and spontaneity, and letting the mixing and flow of the colors dictate in part the final result. Leepa worked with gouache as well as watercolor, and produced works similar to Knud Merrild's flux 'drip' paintings, and although they were developing a similar style at the same time the artists were apparently unaware of each other's work.
For over twenty years Leepa lived and worked more or less in seclusion in the Santa Barbara area, producing watercolors essentially for his own satisfaction. In 1967 and 1968 however, a traveling exhibition of his work was held at the Phoenix Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and the Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles. Harvey Leepa died in 1977.