In the early 2000s, Saul Leiter came to the fore as one of the most accomplished and surprising colour photographers of the 20th century. Books were published, films made and exhibitions launched. While it was never a secret, few of those who are familiar with Leiter’s photography are aware that over the years he created, in his own unhurried way, a yet-to-be appreciated and equally formidable body of paintings and painted photographs. As the first ever publication dedicated to this largely unknown part of Leiter’s œuvre, Painted Nudes offers a selection of more than 70 painted photographs – intimate, brilliantly coloured pieces that marry Leiter’s two artistic passions. Produced over the course of four decades, these fiercely expressive nudes are a testament to Leiter’s intuitive sense of colour and composition, and showcase a great 20th century artist at his resplendent best.
Painted Nudes seeks not only to celebrate, but to illuminate this unique body of work by juxtaposing the painted nudes with a selection of quotes from works of literature. Taking its cue from Leiter’s own work, the book straddles the boundaries between genres, inviting readers to discover their connections and resonances. Lush, evocative and associative, Painted Nudes is as stimulating to the eye as it is for the mind.