JUDITH LEIBER’S HANDBAGS and The Art of GERSON LEIBER
Mamie Eisenhower’s inauguration ball handbag, 1953. Peau de soie with rhinestones. The National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
The Long Island Museum opens for its 2017 season on Friday, February 24. Among some of the highlights this spring is Mamie Eisenhower’s inauguration ball handbag, designed by Judith Leiber, one of about 130 Leiber-designed bags in the exhibition Brilliant Minds: Judith Leiber’s Handbags and the Art of Gerson Leiber.
This beautiful and important exhibition focuses on the creative productivity and shared aesthetics of a unique East End Long Island couple that has achieved high levels of artistic success.
This exhibition is on view through June 4 in the Art Museum.
Judith Leiber (b. 1921) is an internationally celebrated designer of handbags and accessories, whose client list includes almost every First Lady from Mamie Eisenhower to Laura Bush, the opera singer Beverly Sills, and many other celebrities. Gerson Leiber (b. 1922) is an Abstract Expressionist artist with a large body of oil canvases, etchings, prints, and sculptures to his credit.
Married for 70 years, the Leibers have had a profound support and influence on one another that is best seen in a pairing of their work. The exhibition will provide a retrospective examination of each and examine how this confluence of creativity has led to their continued achievements. Both have fascinating biographies. Judith Leiber (neé Peto) was born in Budapest, the daughter of upper-middle class Jews, and survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary. In 1946, she met and married Gerson Leiber, a young American GI from Pennsylvania who had aspirations of becoming an artist. While Judith built her career working for Nettie Rosenstein (the Brooklyn-based designer who created the little black dress) and then launched her own company, Gerson continued to evolve as an artist, exhibiting his paintings, etchings, and lithographs in many American galleries.
Brilliant Partners will include a selection of approximately 130 of Judith’s handbags and nearly 50 works of art from Gerson. This exhibition provides a wide-angle lens on both their lives and influences upon one another.
The exhibition is sponsored by Bank of America, Astoria Bank, Empire National Bank and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
LONG ISLAND MUSEUM, Stony Brook
Located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook, the Long Island Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate dedicated to American history and art with a Long Island connection. Regular museum hours are Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5. For more information about programs and exhibitions, please call 631-751-0066 or visit the museum website at www.longislandmuseum.org.