Painter and sculptor Leslie Lerner, formerly of the Bay Area, died at home in Florida on September 10 at age 55 after a ferocious battle with cancer, without fear and facing the next itinerant journey.
Lerner will be remembered as a painter, sculptor, inspirational teacher, indefatigable spirit, champion of art and artists, creator of narratives, imaginary companion of Antoine Watteau. He was a prodigious reader, fast talker, and lover of words, tropical skies, twilight, and enchiladas.
Over his decades-long career, Leslie was a dedicated art teacher at San Francisco State, the San Francisco Art Institute, and California College of Arts and Crafts. At his last position as art instructor at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, he was a prime architect of the Fine Arts program and served as both Senior Thesis Coordinator and the Director of the Pre-College Perspective Summer Program, where he guided and mentored many students. His paintings are represented in collections in museums around the country, including the Corcoran Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum, and the Norton Museum of Art.