Post-impressionist multi-talented painter, sculptor and musician. He was born on December 4, 1911 in Nuremberg, Germany to "Fritz" (Friedrich Andreas) and "Lona" (Johanna Regina Magdalena) Birkmann, nee Schorr. Leo was an apprentice in his father's interior decorating business and successfully completed his master's exam. A relative on his mother's side was the painter Johann Carl Rohmer.
Leo studied at the Nürnberger Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) under the direction of Hermann Gradl and Fritz Liebel. He attended courses in the "Offenen Zeichensaal der Stadt Nürnberg" (now: Technische Hochschule) under the direction of Hans Gerstacker. More biographical details.
During World War II, he served in the German Army at several frontlines, then confined to the American POW Camp in Reims, France until September 1946, rendering his talents at the disposition of his captors. See The War Years.
After 1949, he was active as a painter and sculptor. He became a member of the "Künstler Klause" and the "Freie Gruppe" and served on the board of directors of the Berufsverband Bildender Künstler in the city of Nuremberg with fellow artists Leo Smigay and Helle Rossner-Böhnlein.Leo died in Ainring, Germany in August of 1983 at the age of 72.
His most successful period was between 1950 and 1970. Murals, sgraffitios, quartz mosaics, iron sculptures and outdoor sculptures were created in the cities of Nürnberg, Würzburg, Bayreuth and surrounding townships. These include several murals influenced by the Bauhaus movement (Gallery 5, No. 15). His paintings are primarily characterized by Impressionism with an occasional tendency towards abstract art.