Born in Philadelphia, Leon Berkowitz (1919-1987) is best known as a Washington, DC painter, having spent more than forty years in this city. He painted and taught art for more than ten years in Washington high schools and later, in 1969, at The Corcoran Gallery's School of Art, where he was chairman of the painting department. He taught there for almost twenty years, until his death in 1987.
By the 1970s, Berkowitz's paintings had become completely abstract, suffused with mists of color and light. Though he was often associated with the Washington Color School, he vigorously denied that connection, asserting instead that his floating washes of color carried light—and through light, a spiritual presence. In 1976, as part of an exhibit at The Phillips Collection, he said, ”I am endeavoring to find that blush of light over light and the color within the light; the depths through which we see when we look into and not at color.”