Leif Sylvester – world-class multi-artist



Leif Sylvester Petersen was born 18 April in 1940 in Copenhagen. The majority of Danes know Leif Sylvester from his roles in e.g. the films ’Midt om Natten’, ’Mig og Charly’ and ’Otto er et næsehorn’. But Leif Sylvester has been active since the 1950s. He is a multi-talent, who, on his visiting card, could write singer, musician, artist, composer and juggler.

At the end of the 1950s Leif Sylvester began his career as a jazz musician in Nyhavn in Copenhagen. In 1969 he was accepted by the Artists’ Autumn Exhibition. It was here he met someone who was to have a great influence on his life – this person was Erik Clausen. The two started Clausen and Petersen’s Street Circus together. It was popular street theatre that toured the streets and lanes of Copenhagen, with street performances for the city’s inhabitants. It was people’s street theatre with political undertones.

Later on, Erik Clausen and Leif Sylvester’s shows were performed in theatres around the country. At the end of the 1970s Leif began to tour with the band Sylvester og Svalerne, with among others his wife Eva Madsen in the band. Eva is best known for the song ‘Mormors Kolonihavehus’, which features on the record ‘I storbyens Favn’. Leif wrote both texts and music for the group and had fans all over Denmark. The group, however, broke up and he later began to tour first with Fredsbandet and then with Sylvester and Co. Both bands disbanded after a relatively short time, but a couple of good records came out of the period. Eva and Leif divorced in 1991.


In 1985 he went on tour with Erik Clausen in Kim Larsen and Bellami’s ‘Cirkus Himmelblå’, which was a huge popular success. In between all this he played minor or major parts in films such as ‘De frigjorte’ and ‘Fleas Bark Too, Don't They?’. In the 1990s he was also in the TV series ‘Taxa’ and ‘Pusher 2’.

Leif Sylvester has a passion for art. Since the end of the 1980s he has primary activity has been with pictorial art and in 1996 he opened his own gallery in Copenhagen called Galleri Python. He has had a wealth of solo and group exhibitions both in Denmark and abroad. At the moment he is one of the most sought-after Danish artists on the home scene. Prices have also risen in line with his increased popularity, and now you would need to part with large amounts of money to buy a standard Leif Sylvester painting. A painting measuring approx. 30x30 cm costs EUR 2,600 at auction. You can buy Leif Sylvester’s paintings or lithographs from his own gallery in Borgergade, Copenhagen or at auction. At Lauritz.com we regularly have works by Leif Sylvester at auction. It is difficult to say whether the paintings will prove to be a secure investment and whether the prices hold. But when you first have been spellbound by Leif Sylvester’s magical world, then...

See whether there are any Leif Sylvester artworks currently on auction

or see the category Modern pictorial arts, with similar works.