Doris Lee


Doris Lee
1905 - 1983

Doris Lee was born in Illinois in 1905. She attended the Kansas City Art Institute and the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. She is known for her figurative work and printmaking. Her paintings are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Chicago Institute of Art, among others.

Even though Doris Lee was born with Midwest sensibilities, she offered an exuberance for life and people that came through in her paintings. Doris expressed her sense of humor ignoring society rules for both men and women in her work. She painted her most famous painting, “Thanksgiving”, during this time frame and the pieces encompasses her folksy style and her humor.

She painted scenes that allowed an economically beleaguered society to harken back on better and simpler times. Consequently, Doris was hired by the United States Treasury Department to paint murals in post offices utilizing her ability to bring levity and hope to the American people in public spaces. Doris is known as one of the most successful woman artists of the Great Depression.

On a personal note, Doris was a long-term resident of Woodstock NY, where she stayed till late in her life. When she was 22 she married another painter, Russell Lee. Russell was from a wealthy family, which brought the couple financial stability and freedom to pursue their artist passions. Doris’s painting career prospered but, unfortunately, Russell’s did not, so he turned to photography where he found success. Russell and Doris ultimately divorced in 1940. Doris then began a long-term relationship with the painter, Arnold Blanche, who she remained with until her death in the eighties.

The Young Harpist

Oil on Canvas, 44.5" x 38.5" framed with artist