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Leslie Sacks, founder and principal of Leslie Sacks Fine Art and Leslie Sacks Contemporary, dies at age 61
Leslie’s most consistently consuming artistic passion was African tribal art, which he collected for three decades, amassing more than 400 pieces.
LOS ANGELES, CA.- Leslie Sacks Fine Art deeply regrets to inform you that Leslie Sacks, founder and principal of Leslie Sacks Fine Art and Leslie Sacks Contemporary, passed away on September 26th after a long and courageous battle with cancer. He was 61 years old, and is survived by his cherished wife Gina, his wonderful sons Jared & Daniel, and his adoring stepsons Daniel & David.

Per Leslie’s wishes, the galleries will continue, with active participation in management by his devoted wife, Gina Sacks. Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Brentwood will continue to exhibit masterworks by modern and contemporary artists under the leadership of the gallery’s co-Directors, Lee Spiro and Sandy Shin. Lee Spiro has been director of Leslie Sacks Fine Art since its inception in 1991, and Sandy Shin has been with Leslie Sacks Fine Art since 2005. Leslie Sacks Contemporary, Santa Monica, led by Managing Director, Temma Nanas, and Director, Tyler Lemkin, will continue its post-war and contemporary exhibition program. Temma Nanas has been with the galleries since 2002, and Tyler Lemkin since 2006. Both galleries will remain in their current locations and continue to develop the museum quality collections Leslie began.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1952, Leslie Sacks was the second of three children of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants to South Africa. While studying psychology and computer science at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, he became a leading figure in human rights activism, fighting against apartheid and demonstrating his support for the Johannesburg Jewish community. As an African, Leslie also felt a profound affinity for the aesthetic linkage between African tribal art and the seminal movements of European modernism as reflected in the early works of Picasso, Braque, Matisse and the German expressionists. Forgoing his post-graduate studies, Leslie instead opened a gallery in Johannesburg, Les Art, surrounding himself with artworks by the European masters.

Shortly after moving to Los Angeles in 1991, Leslie opened Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Brentwood, and some six years ago acquired Bobbie Greenfield Gallery, now known as Leslie Sacks Contemporary at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. Apart from his work with the galleries, Leslie himself was known both within the U.S. and abroad as an expert and consummate connoisseur within his areas of specialization - modern prints and works on paper, and African tribal art. Leslie’s publishing arm, Leslie Sacks Editions, made available scholarly references (e.g. a definitive two volume catalogue raisonné of the prints and paintings of Marino Marini), and monographs (e.g. Anton Heyboer: The Philosophy of an Original Mind).

Leslie’s most consistently consuming artistic passion was African tribal art, which he collected for three decades, amassing more than 400 pieces, approximately 200 of which are featured in a soon to be published hardbound book by the Italian publisher, Skira: Refined Eye, Passionate Heart - African Art from the Leslie Sacks Collection. It is not only this book which testifies to Leslie’s passion for African art, but the fact that he waited until the advance copies of the book had arrived in the U.S., and the exhibition of the same title had opened at Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Brentwood, before he took his leave, departing four days later.

Leslie tirelessly proselytized his core beliefs, among the most ardent of which were his support of the State of Israel, and the need for greater women’s rights. Regarding the latter, in 2010 he founded a not-for-profit social action organization, Women’s Voices Now, which promotes freedom of expression for women in oppressive societies through its international film festivals. Women’s Voices Now will carry on under the directorship of Heidi Basch-Harod. Leslie not only funded WVN but also contributed regularly to between 30 and 40 other charitable causes.

Leslie will be remembered for his generosity and kindness, his optimism, his sense of humor, his incisive intellect, his passionate opinions, his unwavering devotion to helping solve the problems of others, his resolute moral compass, his courage in pursuing justice for the downtrodden, and his deep love for all of humanity and especially those whom he welcomed into the galleries, which he viewed as an integral part of his personal life. The staff of the galleries along with Leslie’s family would like to thank everyone for their support and expressions of sympathy, those already received and as may be forthcoming. Though surely saddened by this loss, as Leslie wished we look forward to embarking upon a new chapter in the artistic adventure which he began in South Africa more than 30 years ago.





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