Monday, January 3, 2011

Hughie -Lee Smith

Hughie Lee-Smith 1970 "Confrontation" 33x 36 oil on canvas, Hunter Museum of Art

Hughie Lee-Smith was born Sept. 20, 1915 in Eustis, Florida, at the age of 10 he moved to Cleveland. There he took classes at Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Institute of Arts, he graduated with high honors and received a grant for post-graduate studies. He later attended John Huntington Polytechnic Institute, the Art Institute of the Detriot Society of the Arts and Crafts and recieved his Bachelor of Fine Art from Wayne State University in Detriot. After schooling he began to teach art and performed with an interracial dance company.

Lee- Smith also served in the Navy during World War II and there completed a mural entitled "The History of the Negro in the United States Navy". In his early work he reflected the social concerns of living in the 1930's during the Great Depression era.

In 1958 he decided moved to New York City where he taught at the Art Students League for the next 15 years. In 1963 he became a member of the National Academy of Design, only the second African American after Henry Ossawa Tanner.

For Lee-Smith early in his career his work can be classified as Social Realism. Later with he work was influenced by surrealism. And his paintings draw heavy comparrison to artist Georgio de Chirico.

During his long illustrative career he's received numerous honors and exhibited through out. Lee- Smith now has work in many major museums collections like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many others. And his work is still highly sought after and collected .

He died Feb, 23 1999, of cancer in Albuquerque,New Mexico .