A Lifelong Habit: The Artwork of Habit Leopold Segedin

Hide_and_Seek_#6_2006_|_©_Leopold_Segedin Hide & Seek #6 | Mixed media on panel | 24 x 32 inches | © Leopold Segedin 2006

Born in Chicago on March 22, 1927, Leopold Segedin received his BFA (1948) and MFA (1950) from the University of Illinois. He has taught at the University of Illinois (assistantship, 1948–50), U.S. Army Engineers (drafting, 1952–54) and at Northeastern Illinois University (1955–87). He has also taught at the Bernard Horwich Jewish Community Center in Chicago and at the Evanston Art Center. He is Art Professor Emeritus at Northeastern Illinois University. He retired from Northeastern in 1987 after teaching there for 32 years.

Mr. Segedin has been an exhibiting artist since 1947, his works having been shown at such museums as the Art Institute of Chicago (including the 60th Annual National Exhibition), the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Milwaukee Art Institute.

In 1956, Mr. Segedin was included in Art in America’s “New Talent in the United States.” Also, in 1957, one of his paintings traveled through Europe with a show organized by the United States Information Agency.


I paint because it’s my habit. I like that idea. I do it because that’s what I do. I feel empty when I don’t. I’m missing something when I’m not working. It doesn’t mean I’m working all the time, but I have the habit of art. That’s what we named my book.


All the Kings | Mixed media on paper | 13 x 18 inches | © Leopold Segedin 1962

I like putting paint on canvas or on panel. I like drawing.

Babel #3 | Craypas on paper | 17-1/2 x 22 inches | © Leopold Segedin 1967


One of the problems I’m having now, I think it’s old age as much as anything, is that what I used to be able to do spontaneously I have to work at now. And I don’t like that. It takes me too long to do what I used to do real quick. And I don’t feel I have that kind of time, so the time I spend I get real frustrated. C’mon let’s get this out of the way. I want to go to the next thing. So that’s a problem.


City Facade | Oil on canvas | 24 x 36 inches | © Leopold Segedin 1948


I feel that when I was a student I was a better draftsman than I am now. I think I’ve lost some of my skills, one of the things that bothers me about getting old.


Confrontation | Mixed media on panel | 24 x 16 inches | © Leopold Segedin 1999

It takes me a lot longer to do something I could do before without thinking. So I think I’ve lost some of that. I used to be very spontaneous. I can’t do that anymore.

Elevated Station | Oil on panel | 48 x 36 inches | © Leopold Segedin 1956

Maybe I can, I just don’t try. I work at it.

Facade IV | Alkyd on paper | 8 x 11 inches | © Leopold Segedin 1982

I have a lot of small brushes instead of big brushes. And I like what I’m doing.

Games | Oil on canvas | 46 x 65 inches | © Leopold Segedin 2015

I like the sense of reality of the Flemish painters. I like [Jan] van Eyk. I like [Quinten] Massijs. I like Rogier van der Weyden.

Hey_Kid!_I_1988_|_©_Leopold_SegedinHey Kid! | Mixed media on panel | 12 x 16 inches | © Leopold Segedin 1988


And I want to know how they did what they did.

L Station (Three Ages) | Mixed media on canvas | 48 x 72 inches | © Leopold Segedin 2002


I have some wonderful books of reproductions with closeups. How did they do that? To me, that’s magic.



Rush Hour | Mixed media on canvas | 50 x 48 inches | © Leopold Segedin 1994

And I want to be able to do that. And apply it to my own ideas. I don’t want to do an icon. But I want to be able create an intensity of reality and I’m getting there.

Rooms | Acrylic on canvas | 45 x 66 inches | © Leopold Segedin 1974




Since retiring from teaching in 1987, Leopold Segedin has had a major exhibition in the Renaissance Court of the Chicago Cultural Center called “I Remember,” a retrospective of paintings on Chicago themes done since 1947. He has exhibited with a group called the “5” at the Belzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, the Loyola University Art Gallery, the Ukrainian Institute of Fine Art, and the Suburban Fine Art Center in Highland Park, Illinois. In 2000, he was included in a group show at the Muskegon Museum of Art called “Moments of Grace: New Regional Painting.” Also, during 2000, he had a one man show at the University Club of Chicago. In 2001, he participated in “Survey 2001” at the Byron Roche Gallery. He was represented at “Chicago 2002,” the international show at Navy Pier. In 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2009, he had one-man shows at the Byron Roche Gallery. In 2010, Mr. Segedin was featured in a major retrospective at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He has had numerous one-man shows and has won awards at several museums including the Art Institute of Chicago.

He was represented in Hello Dali, a musical revue presented at Victory Gardens Theater during November 2000.

Segedin was profiled on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, June 7, 2013.

The book Leopold Segedin: A Habit of Art was published October, 2018.

Check out more of his work at his website

Segedin is currently featured in a solo exhibit at the Rare Nest Gallery thru October 21, 2018 and in a three-person show (with Art Lerner and Seymour Rosofsky) at the Madron Gallery through November, 2018.