|The Sewing Circle
|Georgia Countryside, 1939, in Summerville, GA
|General Store & Post Office, 1938
|Country Post, 1938
5. While Russell Lee was on his cross-country travels, the couple's marriage dissolved and Doris fell in love with artist and teacher Arnold Blanch, the couple's long-time friend. In 1938, the Lees divorced, and Blanch got divorced from his wife, in order to be with Lee. In 1939, the two married.
|Arnold Blanch and Doris Lee
|Cherries in the Sun (Siesta), 1941
|The Blacksmith Shop
7. During the 1930's and 40's, Lee reached her peak of popularity with works published in magazines, the murals in the federal post offices, and paintings displayed in the nation's most renowned museums. In that time, Lee produced many works, of all different styles. Winter in the Catskills, inspired by her life in the Hudson River Valley, is in the collection of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. This and Country Wedding are both lithographs, which she created for the Associated American Artists.
|Winter in the Catskills, 1936, used in this Maxwell House ad
Lee regularly exhibited in New York at museums and galleries, and was artist-in-residence at many
|Spring in the Country, used in this Maxwell House ad
Her 1930's work was executed in a style that accepted traditional principles of form, volume, depth, and color. Lee's work is both intimate and charming, because of her sophisticated, yet innocent, touch. Lee's style developed through a unique fusing of Regionalism (1930s), folk art (1940s), and abstraction (1950s).
|Schoolyard Maypole Dance, 1946
Lee was painting at a very difficult time in American history, when the country was suffering from the Great Depression, and then was fighting in World War II. By painting the simple things in life that meant a lot to people -- like family and special occasions -- Lee was able to refocus people's minds. She was able to use the Great Depression as a source of inspiration.
As Lee became interested in folk art in the 1940's, as well as Chinese art and poetry, she began to reduce forms to the two dimensions and ignore accepted principles of depth, perspective, and realism. American folk art became an important source of inspiration in Lee's paintings. Her simple, flat paintings portrayed individual figures, gardens, seasonal landscapes, and women and children on the beach.
As an early collector of folk and Pre-Columbian art, Lee found the simplified forms and flattened decoration of these arts helpful, in her pursuit of combining abstraction and realism. Her 1950's work offers an even more reduced composition of bold forms, as seen in her Vine Series. The work became even more stylized -- more concerned with pure form and color.
|The Surrey with the Fringe on Top
|Grumman's Chinese Theater, 1945.
This painting was completed at the height of Lee's popularity, and was one of her last works painted in a realistic manner -- before moving into more abstract paintings in the late 1940s.