Michael Leszcynski

Beloosesky Gallery is interested in purchasing original paintings by Michael Leszcynski.

Please call (917) 749-4577 or email us at info@beloosesky.com

 

Michael Lester Leszczyński was born March 26th, 1906 in Poland and died in Jamaica in 1972.

 

He was a Polish painter and a sea captain in the Merchant Marines.

 

Michael Lester Leszczyński was born near Stryja on Polish lands under Austrian rule (now the Ukraine). His was a direct descendant of King Stanislaw Leszczynski. His mother was also a painter. The family lived in Sanok, then Płowiecka Street (now a district of Zator).

 

He went to the High School for Boys in Sanok (1916-1919), and then continued his studies in Warsaw. In 1928 he graduated from the Maritime School in Tczew According to the memoirs and books of Karol Olgierd Borchardt, when Leszczynski was in Maritime School he was called ‘Piglu” by his colleagues. He was a clearly a skilled artist in school and additionally played the violin, piano, and conducted the schools orchestra. He spoke English, French and German, as well as great fechtował. He eventually studied painting at the Fine Arts Academy in Krakow.

 

Eventually he became a seaman on board the French ship the Chargeurs Réunis in the area of Indochina and later also on the schooner SV Elemka and the first officer on the yacht SY Zawisza Czarny. In the early 1930’s he worked as a marine pilot in the port of Gdynia. At this time he had a passion for painting the ships. In 1937 he was captain of the Polish commercial schooner "Orion". After his first trip to Britain, the ship was stopped in London and Leszczynski stayed and eventually became famous in Britain as a painter and maritime historian. He married an Englishwoman named Peggy. While living in England he wrote two manuals on painting: "How to Draw Sail & Sea" (1944) and "Marine Perspective" (1949).

 

During World War II, he sailed on the "Q-ships", used to combat German submarines. He was a founder and president of the Polish Merchant Navy Officers in England. In April 1941, he was captain of an old sailing ship called the "Garlandstone", which was operational until December 1941, and was a shipping vessel for the Garland Shipping Company, Ltd. He managed trade voyages between England and Ireland until 1943 when the company folded. Shortly after the war, in December 1945, as a first officer of the ship "Poznan" he returned to Poland. He was then captain of the steamer "Rataj”, but after serving two voyages he went back to England, where he continued to paint. There he was elected full member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. He was granted the right to use the abbreviation FRSA (Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts) by his name.

 

In 1953 he moved to Jamaica at the port of Montego Bay – and then completely devoted himself to painting. At the time, he adopted the name "Lester" due to the difficult pronunciation of his Polish surname (although he signed his paintings "M. Leszczynski". In Jamaica founded his own gallery called Lester Art Gallery and also published books on the theory of marine painting.

 

Michal Leszczynski was referred to as "the best captain among painters and a painter among the best captains".

 

After he died in Jamaica his wife Peggy then ran the gallery. Today the gallery is well known and frequently visited by tourists.

 

In the 1970’s, on the initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Art, an exhibition was held of his works brought from Jamaica. The show traveled from Gdansk, to Warsaw then to London where he was very well known and regarded as an outstanding maritime historian.

 

Michael Lester Leszczyński artworks are in many Maritime Museums. A considerable collection of his writings, sketches, photos and memorabilia are in the archives of the Maritime Museum at Gdansk, Poland. An Important collection of his maritime sketches and watercolors are on permanent display at the Marine Society headquarters in London and at the Dartford Public Library. His work hangs in the art gallery of the Institute of Jamaica.