Liepke’s masterful hand and knowledge of his medium is the culmination of a long and ongoing “apprenticeship” studying aspects of painters he holds in high esteem such as John Singer Sargent, Velazquez and James Whistler. He paints from photographs and works in a wet-on-wet technique, borrowed from Sargent and Velazquez, in which layers of oil paint are built up without drying in between. His loose brushwork, cool skin tones, and sultry expressions are signatures evident throughout his career.
The beauty of Liepke’s paintings is arrestingly self-evident. Through his subjects, he delves into various realms of human nature. Sensuality is captured in an expression or a passionate embrace. The celebration of womanhood and feminine wiles are predominant themes he deftly conveys. Above all, Liepke’s work explores the engagement between subject and viewer. He favors portraits of ordinary women in glamorous contexts, producing voyeuristic nudes that are sexualized through a realistic lens rather than a pornographic one.
Born in 1953 in Minneapolis, he attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, before dropping out after a year and a half. Moving to New York, Liepke worked as a commercial illustrator for publications such as Time, Forbes, and Newsweek, before growing disappointed with his career and dedicating himself to painting during the mid-1980s.