National Heritage Gallery
240 Roberts Lane
Seymour, Tennessee 37865
Leo Preisler was born in Cedar Grove Wisconsin. He attended the Layton School of Art and the University of Wisconsin. Leo and his new bride, Barbara came to the Great Smoky Mountains on their honeymoon. They visited Cades Cove and fell in love with the Cove, the mountains and the weather.
After many years in Wisconsin where Leo owned and operated a restaurant and both he and Barbara pursued their careers, they came back to East Tennessee in 1980. They had returned to the place they loved and Leo returned to the arts for which he had such a talent. The result was the Cades Cove Series of miniature sculptures. He released the first miniatures, The Carter Shields Cabin, The Blacksmith Shop, and the Elijah Oliver Corncrib in May of 1989.
Leo released an additional 20 pieces in the Cades Cove summer series and 16 pieces in the Cades Cove winter series. Then he turned to the Appalachia series where he produced two wonderful and unique miniatures, The Lodge at Mt. LeConte and the Old Mill at Pigeon Forge. Subsequently he sculpted a four- piece set of fishing and hunting camp buildings taken from his memories of the northern woods of Wisconsin. His last piece was Rocky Top, a representation of the legend of the Tennessee mountains that has become such a part of the culture of East Tennessee and the University situated there.
Barbara was ever the inspiration for Leo’s work, but tragically, she passed away in the year 2000. Nevertheless, her spirit remains in the little histories she researched and wrote.