Leon Gilmour, printmaker, illustrator, teacher and art director, was born in Riga, Latvia on July 25, 1907. He immigrated to the United States in 1916 and settled for a brief period in Boston, where he studied at the School of Practical Art.
Gilmour left Boston for the West Coast and, along the way, hired himself out to meet expenses; he worked as a farm hand, ranch hand, gold miner and truck driver and later culled from those experiences for his subject matter. After his long journey, Gilmour arrived in Los Angeles and enrolled at the Otis Art Institute where, in 1931, Paul Landacre introduced him to the art of woodengraving.
He taught at the University of Southern California and also had successful careers as a designer, illustrator, and art director. Gilmour was a member of the American Artist's Congress and his work has been exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Library, Laguna Art Museum, Otis Art Institute and numerous galleries in Southern California. Public collections holding his work included the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Boston Public Library, Georgetown University, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Art, San Jose Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, La Salle University Art Museum, the San Mateo County and the San Fernando Valley Historical Museums.
Leon Gilmour died in Burlingame, California on March 31, 1996.