Henry Lee McFee

Henry Lee McFee (1886-1953)

Henry Lee McFee was born in St. Louis, MI. In 1902 he began attending Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri. In 1907, McFee enrolled in the Stevenson Art School and began painting as his livelihood. During his two summers as a pupil of L. Birge Harrison at the Art Students League in Woodstock, New York, McFee grew as an artist. 

In November 1913, McFee exhibited some paintings at the MacDowell Club. In 1919, McFee was one of the founders of the Woodstock Artists’ Association, alongside Andrew Dasburg, Carl Eric Lindin, John Carlson, amongst others. In 1920, McFee's work was exhibited at the Gallerie Georges Petit International Art Exhibition in Paris, France. It was only after this international exhibition and that McFee's was given first one-man show was in 1927 at the Rehn Gallery.

In 1939 McFee was given a Directorship at the Witte Museum School of Art in an Antonio and was soon was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1940. During the 1940s McFee moved to Los Angeles, a thriving art center of the time. McFee was given a teaching position at Claremont Graduate School and the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, California. A number of important artists at art schools around Southern California were collaborating -- and McFee began working closely with fellow Los Angeles artist and teacher Bentley Schaad. He likely encountered other California modernists of the time including Helen Lundeberg, Francis De Erdely, and Lorser Feitelson.

Artists in California were exploring line and color in a different and developed a distinctive modern aesthetic. Unlike many artists on the East Coast who had spurned representational painting, the West Coast moderns were combining realism with elements of cubism and abstraction to depict modern every day scenes, landscapes, and figurative works. McFee's realist, synchromist ,and cubist works were exhibited at the Carnegie Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy, the Corcoran Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum. McFee was recently included in the Pacific Standard Time exhibition organized by the Getty. 

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