An influential American printmaker, Leonard Pytlak studied art at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art and at the Art Students League, New York. From 1934 to 1941 he worked almost exclusively in the medium of lithography. As this was the troubling times of the Great Depression most of his lithographic work was published by the New York Chapter of the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration), which kept many artists employed during these years. Commissioned W.P.A. prints were most often published in very small editions ranging from sixteen to twenty-five impressions.
Around 1940 Leonard Pytlak began experimenting with the newly discovered graphic arts medium of the silkscreen. He was one of the first artists (along with Elizabeth Olds and Hyman Warsager) to be included in the silkscreen unit of the Graphic Arts Division of the New York Federal Arts Project. At this time he also founded the National Serigraph Society. Leonard Pytlak was elected a Guggenheim Fellow in 1941.
During his career Leonard Pytlak's silkscreens and lithographs were exhibited at such major institutions as the National Academy of Design and the Library of Congress. He was a full member of the Art League of America, the Philadelphia Color Print Society and the Audobon Artists. His fine graphic art is now included in such major collections as the Brooklyn Museum, the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the British Museum, the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York City.