Do you remember last month when I was in Fort Worth, Texas I mentioned I saw a really fantastic exhibit at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art called Art and Appetite in America? I bought the exhibit catalog (which I have not yet had time to begin reading) and I like to leaf through now and again taking in the works of art. I discovered the artwork of Doris Lee (1905-1983) when I was in Texas. Her 1935 painting Thanksgiving was prominently placed in the exhibit and caught my eye.
I'm not sure what it is about this particular painting but I love it. It is warm and homey and maybe it is just my own fondness for the holiday that makes me return to it again and again. It was this painting that brought her work to attention back in the Thirties. It won first prize at the Art Institute of Chicago. Apparently the wife of one of the benefactors was critical of it. So what did the Art Institute do? They acquired it for their permanent collection. No doubt that helped put her on the map (and it just goes to show you that maybe all publicity (even of the bad sort) really is good publicity.
I have not been able to find very much written about her or any books solely about her art--other than a small exhibition catalog and a children's book she illustrated. I have amassed my information via interlibrary loan and as most of the material is due to be returned, I thought I would share a little of what I found (and have a nice record of it all for myself here).
Doris Lee illustrated the 1944 edition of James Thurber's The Great Quillow. Doesn't that bottom picture look almost like a 'Thanksgiving' scene, too?
April Storm, Washington Square from 1932 is in the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design Collection and I came across a reproduction of the painting in American Women Artists 1830-1930 by Eleanor Tufts.
These last three paintings are from a small exhibition catalog, Doris Lee: Images of Delight, 1930-1950. The three (my favorites from the catalog) are from a larger exhibit that was on show in 1996 at D.Wigmore Fine Art, Inc.
Top: Under the Royal Poinciano Tree
Middle: Spring Dancers
Bottom: Fox and Geese
Aren't these great? They are a bit folksy-ish in style, of which I am a great fan. I have not found much written about her, but I did come across this:
"Doris Lee is a well-known realistic painter whose name is associated with the Woodstock art colony--she was president of the Woodstock Artists Association in 1952. Lee acquired early recognition as an aritst in 1935 when she received first prize and the Logan Gold Medal in the American Artists Annual at the Art Institute of Chicago and won two mural commissions in the first competition sponsored by the United States Treasury Department." (from American Women Artists 1830-1930).
My search for her work and for writings about her and her paintings shall continue!