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Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Liepke attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena before dropping out after a year and a half. He then moved to New York and worked as a commercial illustrator for publications such as Time, Forbes, and Newsweek. In the mid-1980’s he decided to make a career change and dedicate himself to painting full time, and study artists such as John Singer Sargent, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Diego Velázquez, James McNeill Whistler and Édouard Vuillard.
In the past few decades, Liepke has established himself as a leading contributor to today's resurgence of figurative painting. Bold brushstrokes, rich buttery surfaces and most importantly, the timeless humanity of his classically inspired imagery have yield successful one-man exhibitions around the world. Malcolm Liepke' works are in the collections of both the Brooklyn Museum and the Smithsonian Museum, as well as many prestigious private collections worldwide.