Leo Gestel was born in 1881 in Woerden, a town near Utrecht. Around 1907, he developed a so called luministic painting style and his work became an explosion of colour. Like Jan Sluijters, Piet Mondriaan and Piet van der Hem, Gestel was seen as an ultra-modern artist. Later on in life he worked in a more cubist manner and at the end of his life he was influenced by the expressionists.
Gestel was known for his landscapes, portraits and still life, which he produced in oil paint, watercolor and pencil. He also illustrated books.