Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Allen Leepa, founder of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, dies at age 90

TARPON SPRINGS — Allen Leepa, who gave millions of dollars in art and cash to found the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, died Friday, June 26, at his home in New Port Richey after a long illness. He was 90.

Dr. Leepa was an abstract expressionist artist, professor and writer whose stepfather was Abraham Rattner, a highly regarded early 20th century artist. Rattner lived in Paris during the early years of modernism and was a contemporary of the group that formed there, foremost among them Pablo Picasso.

Rattner married Dr. Leepa's mother, Esther Gentle, in 1949. When she died in 1991, Dr. Leepa and his late wife, Isabelle, inherited his stepfather's estate, which included paintings by Rattner and his contemporaries.

The Leepas gave the Rattner collection, many of Leepa's own paintings and works by his mother, who also was an artist, to St. Petersburg College in 1996. The college opened the Leepa-Rattner Museum on its Tarpon Springs campus in January 2002.

The Leepas also gave a cash gift of $2 million, partly for endowment and partly to build the museum. The value of the Rattner collection was estimated in 1998 at $17.5 million and earned Leepa a ranking of 31st among Fortune magazine's top 40 philanthropists that year.

Allen Leepa was born on Jan. 9, 1919, in Brooklyn, New York. He and his mother moved to California during his youth. He had an aptitude for art and studied at the Hans Hoffman School in New York and the Bauhaus School of Design in Chicago.

He received a master of fine arts degree in 1947 and a doctorate in education in 1961. Both degrees were from Columbia University. He was an art professor at Michigan State University from 1945 until his retirement in 1983. He is the author of a biography of Abraham Rattner and of The Challenge of Modern Art, a popular book for art history classes in its fifth printing.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at or (727) 893-8293.


A tribute

Dr. Allen Leepa's life and career will be celebrated at a tribute at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, 600 Klosterman Road in Tarpon Springs, at 3 p.m. Aug. 2. An exhibition of his work will open that day and continue through Aug. 30. Donations can be made to the Allen Leepa Memorial Fund at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.

Allen Leepa, founder of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs, dies at age 90 06/29/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 4:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Judge throws out $458,000 condo sale, says Clearwater attorney tricked bidders

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold on Monday threw out the $458,100 sale of a gulf-front condo because of what he called an "unscrupulous" and "conniving" scheme to trick bidders at a foreclosure auction.

    John Houde, left, whose Orlando copany was the high  bidder June 8 at the foreclosure auction of a Redington Beach condo, looks in the direction of Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, foreground,  during a hearing Monday before Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold.  [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times ]
  2. Vision Zero plan to make Hillsborough roads safer to be unveiled


    TAMPA — Vision Zero, the coalition trying to make Hillsborough County safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, is set to unveil its action plan on Tuesday morning.

    Members of the Vision Zero workshop cross Hillsborough Avenue and Kelly Road during a on-street audit of Town 'N Country roads in January. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |   Times]
  3. Pasco EDC names business incubator head in Dade City, will open second site


    Pasco County economic development officials are busy reigniting their business start-up resources following the departure earlier this year of Krista Covey, who ran the Pasco Economic Development Council's SMARTStart business incubator in Dade City.

    Andrew Romaner was promoted this summer to serve as program director of the Dade City SMARTStart Entrepreneur Center, a start-up incubator service of the Pasco Economic Development Council. He succeeds Krista Covey, who relocated to Texas for another startup position. [Courtesy of Pasco EDC]
  4. What you need to know for Tuesday, Aug. 22


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, center, attends a hearing on Monday Circuit Court Judge Jack St. Arnold at the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater. The hearing was requested by attorneys representing John Houde, left, who filed a motion to invalidate the sale of a $458,000 Redington Beach condo, a deal orchestrated by Skelton, who stands accused of deliberately misleading bidders in a the June 8 foreclosure auction. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  5. Sarasota GOP names Dick Cheney 'Statesman of the Year'


    Former Vice President Dick Cheney will be honored as "Statesman of Year" by the Sarasota GOP, a title that twice went to Donald Trump.

    Dick and Liz Cheney