The Polish-Jewish painter Leopold Gottlieb was born in Drohobycz in 1883 (his older brother, the painter Maurycy Gottlieb, died before he was born). Leopold studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and in the studio of Anton Ažbe in Munich. In 1904 he settled in Paris, becoming a member of the Montparnasse Circle of artists and between 1904-07 exhibited in group shows in cities including Cracow, Vienna, Berlin and Warsaw.


In 1910, he moved to Jerusalem to teach in the Bezalel School of Art, later returning to Paris where he showed with the Polish Expressionists (Formists), c. 1917-19, formed friendships with other Polish artists including Moise Kisling and Eugene Zak, and attracted the attention of critics André Salmon and Adolf Basler. He exhibited at the Salon of Autumn, Independents, Société Nationale des Beaux Artes, and the Tuileries, as well as at the Vienna Secession and in an exhibition of Polish art, organized in 1912 in Barcelona.


During the First World War Gottlieb joined the Polish Legions and documented army life; afterwards his "Exhibition of Polish Legions," took place in Lublin, Poland in 1917. After the war, he lived in Poland, Vienna and Germany, before returning to Paris in 1926 and exhibiting at the Galerie aux Quatre Chemins (1927), d'Art de Montparnasse (1928), Bonaparte (1930), and Zak (1934). In 1929 and 1930, he joined the exhibition of the Association of Polish Artists. He died in Paris in 1934 and was best-known for his portraits and for works on biblical themes.