- Margaret Rose Vendryes
(b Eustis, FL, Sept 20, 1915; d Albuquerque, NM, Feb 23, 1999).
African American painter. Lee-Smith began art instruction in 1925 at the Cleveland Museum of Art where he worked with Clarence Carter. Later, he was active in Cleveland’s Karamu House arts and theater programs which, during the 1930s, was a hothouse for artistic expression that advanced racial integration. The overt theatricality of his compositions has been attributed to this early exposure to stagecraft. He went on to study at the Detroit School of Arts and Crafts and Cleveland School of Art with Carl Gaertner (1898–1952), Henry Keller (1869–1949) and Ralph Stoh. Lee-Smith was active in several artist collectives and taught painting in New York at the Art Students League from 1972 through 1988. American artists such as Albert Pinkham Ryder and Edward Hopper, with their painterly technique and mysterious environments, inspired what matured into Lee-Smith’s neo-Surrealist signature style. His art bares witness to the deterioration of poor neighborhoods during times of economic hardship and the solitary figures within his landscapes are poignant. Although small to mid-size paintings dominate his oeuvre, there were a number of mural commissions such as the New Jersey Commerce Building in Trenton....