Painter Israel 'Henry' Leibo was born into a Jewish family in Tallinn, Russian Empire (now Estonia) in 1912 and started painting at the age of eight. He began training as a doctor, but in 1929, at the age of 18, abandoned medicine for painting and moved to Berlin, where he studied under Max Liebermann. In 1932 he relocated to Paris, joining the circle around the École de Paris juifs and exhibiting at the Petit Palais. In 1935 he exhibited in Riga, Latvia, and Copenhagen, Denmark (his portrait of the Danish King Christian earning him a lifetime's pension), and in 1937, at the invitation of the Belgian Colonial Office, he travelled extensively in the Congo, producing a body of around 80 works.

In 1939 he arrived in England with Moise Kisling, after they were offered a joint exhibition at the Lefevre Gallery, London, and settled in London. He also exhibited in Harley Street in 1976 at the premises of Dr Immanuel Bierer, who later presented his painting 'Landscape with Plough' to Ben Uri. He also contributed work to a number of picture fairs at Ben Uri Gallery between 1978 and 1982. Israel Leibo died in London, England in 1987.