Devin Wayne Leonardi
On July 13, 2014, beloved son, brother, partner, and friend, Devin Wayne Leonardi, took his life in Missoula, Montana at the age of 33.
Devin lived a life of great poetry. He was born April 16, 1981 in Evanston, Illinois. An accomplished artist, Devin explored repressed issues of American history and politics. His paintings reprocessed images of an age of industrialization and United States mythology, scenes that are lost by collective memory. In an effort to reveal the persistence of the “modern” as a nascent force within American history, Leonardi’s artwork looked back to terrains of nineteenth century Americana, to landscape painting, to pictorial narratives of the conquest of the West with its collaterals, victims, and its repressed memory, earning him a devoted following of collectors and admirers throughout the United States and the European art world. Painted with exceptional skill, Devin’s artwork is as beautiful as it is profound. As his sister, Colleen, observes, “He saw through to the essence of things and had a way of capturing and speaking the truth.”
Devin spent his early years in Jensen Beach, Florida before returning to Chicago, Illinois. Curious and rambunctious, he had a short yet illustrious career as an actor, performing in theater and television in Chicago. He began drawing and painting at a young age while studying visual arts at The Chicago Academy for the Arts. Devin’s early talent as a visual artist earned him a full scholarship to The Cooper Union in New York City.
A man of great sensitivity, integrity, and honor, Devin lived and worked as an artist in New York City for 11 years. His artwork appeared in multiple group and solo exhibitions. As of 2014, his artwork has been presented in six solo exhibitions, and is in prestigious collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art. He was represented by Broadway 1602 in New York City and the Altman Siegel Gallery in San Francisco.
In 2010, Devin and his partner, Annie Connole, moved from New York City to Montana to explore the vast landscape, rich history, and poetry of the West. Devin found immense truth and peace in his daily meditations walking and painting in the sublime landscape surrounding the town of Philipsburg, Montana.
Devin was always entirely present, genuine, and full of life. He lived with an unwavering sense of purpose and attention to detail. His exceptional taste was exemplified through his classical choice of fashion, gifts, and belongings. His character was strongly performative and Devin often mitigated his keen sense of comedy and tragedy in the human experience through caricature. A talented chef by the age of 19, Devin entertained and cared for friends and family with his culinary artistry. At parties, Devin dazzled those around him with his aplomb on the dance floor. No matter where he went, people found in Devin a kindred spirit. He was deeply empathetic, wise, witty, and well-loved by friends and family across the country.
Devin is survived by his partner of eight years, Annie Connole of Missoula, daughter of Neil Connole, Joan Leik and Jeff Lepley of Helena, Montana; Mother, Polly Harding Rich of Stuart, Florida; Father, Wayne Thomas Leonardi of Barrington, Illinois; Sister, Colleen Leonardi of Columbus, Ohio; Grandmother, Sarah Leonardi; Uncles Kevin and Campbell Rich and Drew and Leonard Leonardi, and aunts Heidi and Lisa Rich and Tabitha Leonardi.
A memorial service was held August 1, 2014 at 6pm at St. Timothy’s Memorial Chapel at 2285 Southern Cross Road in Anaconda overlooking Georgetown Lake in Montana. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and updates.
Our deepest gratitude to all those who join together in celebrating Devin’s life, spirit, and art.
“All passes—art alone endures.”— Austin Dobson