Born on May 18, 1957, Hilversum, Netherlands. Grows up dreaming of palm trees and escape.
Falls in love with painting; ‘sees’ abstract art for the first time as a potential personal expression, inspired by Anselm Kiefer’s “Innen Raum.”
Co-founds the art collective “Groenlandsestraatweg” in Amsterdam. Creates performing art center in Amsterdam. Performances with the collective throughout Europe. Starts painting.
Author of educational materials and teacher of remedial programs at St. Joris Lycee in Helmond, Netherlands. Works with children of guest laborers, assisting them in adapting to Dutch cultural customs. Co-founder and artistic director of “Hart Poetr,” a collective of artists, musicians, writers.
Having witnessed firsthand the communication gap between art, cultural institutions and their audiences and sponsors, Leestemaker starts up an art consulting company, Leestemaker & Associates, with the goal of bridging the gap between art and business cultures. Co-founds and edits a monthly business/arts periodical.
After a few aborted attempts at escape, the palm tree dreams are persistent, and life in Holland too suppressing. Leestemaker departs Schiphol to step into the blinding sunlight of Los Angeles, with some cash stashed in his shoes. After following his initial dream of becoming a writer, he re-discovers painting and takes classes from Arnold Schifrin in Venice. Shortly thereafter the career takes off and he rents a studio in downtown LA. Some early exhibitions and group shows at: Barnsdall Art Park; Southern California Gas Company; Miramax Films, New York; 48 Market Street Gallery, Venice; BBDO Advertising LA, and any other location willing to show his work.
Moves to New York with wife, to start a family and new life, which takes off differently than expected. Divorce leads to a severe period of existentialism. Moving back to the West Coast, he finds himself picking up the brush again with renewed vigor. Raw pigments and cement start entering the canvas, creating amore sculptural approach to the work.
Severe eye problems almost cause blindness, but surgery proves ultimately successful and following in the footsteps of other artists who saw their work change after eye trouble, the paintings created after recovery move into the landscape realm. Leestemaker attests this to finally being able to free himself of his old cultural boundaries and gain free access to both the traditions and cultural heritage of his past, while at the same time feeling the freedom to embrace the color field paintings of the abstract expressionists, which he considers to be the quintessential expression of the “American” painter.
Increasing notoriety among galleries, museums, collectors and art consultants.
Museum exhibits: Bakersfield Art Museum, West Valley Art Museum, Phoenix.
Solo Exhibitions: Galerie d’Orsay, Boston, MA; Persterer International Art Management, Zurich, Switzerland; BGH Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; Childs Costello Fine Art, Phoenix, AZ; Modern Masters Fine Art, Santa Fe, NW and Palm Desert, CA; Onessimo Fine Art, Palm Beach, FL, New River Fine Art, Ft. Lauderdale and Naples, FL, Lowe Gallery, Atlanta.
Collaboration with a number of developers, architects and designers on successfully integrating his paintings with architectural requirements. Selected Collections and Projects: Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bellagio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Four Seasons Hotel, Bahamas, Miyako Hotel, Tokyo, Japan, International Las Vegas Airport, Staffworks Inc., San Clemente, CA, Law firm of Steefel, Levitt & Weiss, Los Angeles, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Los Angeles, Toyota USA Headquarters.
Leestemaker becomes a U.S. citizen.
Two books are published and the documentary “Swimming Through The Clouds” is screened at a number of film festivals and aired on Link TV. Jazz legend Charlie Haden becomes a collector of the artist’s work and asks him to create the artwork for his Grammy winning CD, “Land of the Sun.”
The classical composer Vincent Ho uses four of Leestemaker’s paintings to compose “Four Paintings by Leestemaker.” Funded by the Canadian Arts Council this work was performed at a number of music festivals throughout China. Later that year, Lineage Dance Company in Pasadena, CA choreographs a modern dance piece, “Breaking Through the Canvas,” for their repertoire.
Published “Luc Leestemaker: A Retrospective” including “Four Paintings by Leestemaker” animated by Edber Mamisao, and “A Conversation with Luc Leestemaker” directed and produced by Emily Lau.
Concurrently in 2006, new abstractions start emerging in his work, resulting in the “Voyager” and “Map of the Wind” series. Solo gallery exhibition with Galerie d’Orsay, Boston, MA to critical acclaim from press and collectors.
Leestemaker builds his dream home and studio in the Hollywood Hills with life partner.
Solo Gallery Exhibitions with Galerie d’Orsay, Boston, MA; Madison Gallery, La Jolla, CA; Soren Christensen Gallery, New Orleans, LA; ArtBasel Miami, New River Gallery, Miami, FL
Published “The Intentional Artist: Stories From My Life.” Official launch of book signing tour at Barnsdall Park in Los Angeles, CA.
Solo Exhibitions: “20 Year Retrospective: Painting in America,” Madison Gallery, La Jolla, CA; Forré Fine Art, Aspen, CO; Galerie D’Orsay, Boston, MA; L.A. Art Fair, Los Angeles, CA ArtHamptons, Bridge Hampton, NY; San Francisco Modern and Contemporary Art Fair, San Francisco, CA
Solo Exhibitions: Madison Gallery, La Jolla, CA; Forré Fine Art, Aspen, CO; Galerie D’Orsay, Boston, MA; L.A. Art Fair, Los Angeles, CA ArtHamptons, Bridge Hampton, NY; San Francisco Modern and Contemporary Art Fair, San Francisco, CA
Awarded prestigious Star of Design in the art category by the Pacific Design Center in March 2012. Leestemaker passed away on May 18, 2012 following a battle with cancer.
Forms of the Formless Exhibition; Beijing Museum of Contemporary Art, Beijing, China