Long Island’s iconic Judith and Gerson Leiber were honored for their contribution as art and fashion pioneers, spanning a career of more than 70 years, at a special reception at the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills on Oct. 15. The event, which featured a talk by Ann Fristoe Stewart, collections manager of the Leiber Museum, coincided with the Art League’s September/October exhibit, Passion for Fashion: Of Purses & Paintings — The Gerson and Judith Leiber Collection.
Judith Leiber is known throughout the world for her innovative handbags and minaudières. Mamie Eisenhower was the first in a long line of First Ladies to carry a Judith Leiber purse, among many other celebrities and non-celebrities who are fans of her designs. Gerson Leiber, when not running the business end of the eponymous company with his wife, created modernist-style paintings, sketches and lithographs that have been shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian, among other high-profile museums and galleries. The Leibers have housed a collection of their work in their own museum built on their property in East Hampton.
At the reception, Stewart gave a thoroughly engaging talk on the story behind the couple, going back to Judith Leiber’s origins as a Jewish girl in Budapest surviving the Holocaust, meeting the young American soldier who would become her husband, leaving Europe and setting down roots in New York, recounting the hard work and dedication that led to their success in the world of art and fashion.
The Art League of Long Island thanks Bridgehampton National Bank, Harlan & Olivia Fisher and Artful Circle for sponsorship. Special thanks to the Long Island Museum for sharing their research, graphic materials, and generous assistance which formed the basis of this exhibition. Champagne for the reception generously donated by Wine Doc of Elwood.
The Art League of Long Island is located at 107 East Deer Park Road in Dix Hills. The gallery is open to the public, free of charge, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.artleagueli.org or call 631-462-5400.