malcolm t liepke Kissing Her Back
5 min

Dreaming Beauties On The Wet Canvases of American Artist Malcolm T. Liepke

5 min

Malcolm T. Liepke (b. 1953) is an American painter, who originates from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The artist is influenced by the works of John Sargent, Edgar Degas, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Possibly, Liepke's love for impressionists resulted in his distinctive approach. He applies the wet-on-wet or alla prima painting technique, meaning that layers of wet paint cover the previous layers of wet paint. Thick brushstrokes may also remind you of the impressionist manner.

 liepke cascading hair painting

Fig. 1. Cascading Hair (

malcolm t liepke In the Bath

Fig. 2. In the Bath, 2017 (

 malcolm t liepke In Her Bed

Fig. 3. In Her Bed (

  malcolm t liepke Kissing Her Back

Fig. 4. Kissing Her Back, 2019 (

 malcolm t liepke Retro

Fig. 5. Retro (

 malcolm t liepke painter

Fig. 6.

 malcolm t liepke Legs Together

Fig. 7. Legs Together, 2019 (

 malcolm t liepke nude

Fig. 8.

Only Thing I Was Cut Out To Be

Already in high school, Liepke felt the aspiration to become an artist. As he later would say, "being an artist was the only thing I was cut out to be" ( Graduated, he moved to California and enrolled in the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Studying at the institution was a frustrating experience. Liepke, who tended towards figurative art, was forced to learn abstractionism and conceptualism. He studied for only a year and a half and dropped out.


After Liepke was expelled, he moved to New York, where he worked as a commercial illustrator for Time, Forbes, and Newsweek. As time went on, Liepke was getting more dissatisfied with his career and eventually decided to devote himself to art. In the 1980s, he began to study art on his own visiting local museums and developing his manner. Nowadays, the works of Liepke are held in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution and the Brooklyn Museum. He has been widely exhibiting in America and selling his paintings since the first show at Eleanor Ettinger Gallery in 1986. At the moment, the artist works and resides in his hometown.

 malcolm t liepke nude from the back

Fig. 9.

 malcolm t liepke Revealed

Fig. 10. Revealed (

 malcolm t liepke Curled with Pillow

Fig. 11. Curled with Pillow (

 malcolm t liepke Curled Up

Fig. 12. Curled Up (

 malcolm t liepke Nude female from the back

Fig. 13.

 malcolm t liepke Reclining nude on the bed

Fig. 14.

  malcolm t liepke Eternal

Fig. 15. Eternal (

 malcolm t liepke Lost in Rapture

Fig. 16. Lost in Rapture, 1995 (

Contra Avant-Garde

As known, it's a frequent situation when young artists rebel against the academist approach and do provocative things that later become an art. The case of Liepke is the opposite example, though, not as much opposite, because he also protested against the institution, after all. As the artist says, "I wanted to learn from the masters that I saw in the museums."


While avant-gardists are fascinated by the idea, Liepke is fascinated by people: "There is a timeless quality to figurative painting that I really enjoy. If I look at a Rembrandt, while the clothing is certainly different, the people remain the same. They have not changed in hundreds of years. The emotional contact you get from looking at someone's face is what inspires my work" ( Yet, the artistic view arises a question of whether he gets emotional contact from looking at the refined faces and poses by academists like Bouguereau or Cabanel, whose paintings are exhibited in museums, as well.

In the extended Premium version of the article you can learn more about Liepke's artistic goals, his distinctive aesthetics, the influence of Gustav Klimt, and 32 additional images of his alluring paintings.

Click HERE for Israeli artist Irina Karkabi and her sensual references to Gustav Klimt.