Leonard Bordes was born in Paris in 1898. His mother was a pianist and his father a cellist. Bordes received a musical education, but the rigorous discipline wasn’t fitting for the artist personality. Bordes dealt with many difficulties although he was getting good results. He began his career as a musician and a painter. He moved to Rouen at a very young age with his sister and attended classes in 1913 at L’ecole des Beaux-Arts of Rouen. Bordes met with Frechon Guilbert, and at the age of 17, he confronted the public in a “Trio” of Beethoven. In 1916, he participated in an exhibition on Belgium’s and Norman’s Painters.
After World War I, Bordes tended to work as an independent although he was extremely attracted by Lebourg’s impressionism and Louvrier’s work. Outside of his artistic labor, he was involved with the bohemians’ circle and old friends from L’ecole des Beaux-Arts Rouen. In 1919, he was a guest at the Societe des Artists Rouennais where he exposed 6 watercolors. From 1922 to 1925, Bordes exposed at the same salon regularly, and before leaving Paris, he also participated at two exhibitions at the gallerie Moderne. In 1929, Bordes traveled in the South of France and Corsica and exposed the result of his journey at the Gallerie Prigent in 1931. The landscapes of Bearn, the views of Marseilles, and the Mont-Gargan became his three favorite subjects. In 1932, he stayed in The French Alps where he developed a full talent for snow scenes. In June of 1932, Bordes joined the group of the “Seize”, and exposed a nude for the first time and a landscape of the Mont Gargan. These pieces were executed in warm tones palette. Bordes presented his work in two galleries, Prigent and Gosselin, during this period. He developed his own style and expressed very direct and spontaneous sensations through his art.
During World War II, Bordes expressed all the misery and anger through his work and participated at the “Rouen et L’exode” where he exposed some dramatic scenes. At the age of 52, “Les Chiffoniers”, one of Bordes’s works, was purchased by the museum of Rouen in the amount of $15,000.00. He exposed his work at the Menuisement Gallery until the end of his career. In 1953, he gathered 40 years of his labor. This exhibit was probably the best anthology and analysis of an artist’s work ever put together. He received excellent critics.
From 1960 to 1965, Bordes worked in the company of Gaston Sebire, in Fontenay and in Spain. This trip became a true revelation for the artist. Bordes came back to Rouen and executed some lithographs through which he expressed all the charm and the spirit of Spain.
His health deteriorated the following year and Bordes died in the Charles Nicoll Hospital in Rouen in 1969.