An important French Art Nouveau sculptor who was Belgium by birth, Léonard moved to Paris when he was quite young and studied sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris under Eugène Delaplanche. He became a member of the Société des Artistes Français in 1887 and a member of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1897. He regularly exhibited across France, and was made a chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur in 1900. Some of his best-known works are studies of dancers, such as La Cothurne (Tragic Pose from Le Jeu d'escharpe), modeled in 1895 and cast in 1900. The Play of the Scarf, executed in a characteristic fin-de-siècle manner and rendered in gilt, showed a dancer in a flowing gown with a billowing scarf held above her head. This piece was produced in 1897, was inspired by the renowned dancer, Lois Fuller and was displayed as a table centerpiece at the 1900 World's Fair at the Pavillon de Sèvres in Paris.