Born in Charlottenburg as Elisabeth Kluth, she studied under Richard Seewald at the Cologne School of Art from 1925 to 1927. She met and married the Dutch painter Ernst Leyden who introduced her to the Paris society of Chagall, Pascin and Picabia. A high profile commission for a mural at Hatherop Castle drew international attention and she was offered her first solo show in New York in 1937. On the outbreak of war the now ‘Van’ Leydens moved to America and began to produce commercial work, more murals and a line in society portraits. In 1941 they moved to California where Karin’s murals were much in demand by the leading interior designers and the stars of the day, notably Tyrone Power and Rita Hayworth. In later years resettled in Europe and ended her days in Switzerland experimenting with abstraction and collage.
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