New York, N.Y.
33.3 linear feet
1 rolled doc
Collection Summary: Biographical material, correspondence, writings, scrapbooks, photographs, and audio visual material documenting Hughie Lee Smith's life and career as an artist and teacher.
REEL N69-111: Correspondence in the 1950's and early 1960's with Barnett Aden Gallery, A.C.A. Gallery, Associated American Artists, Howard University, American Federation of Arts, Detroit Artist's Market, Detroit Institute of Arts, Akron Art Institute, and others, concerning exhibits, often of American Negro painters, donations of work to benevolent organizations, commissions of work and sales. Correspondents include Carl Gaertner, Louis Grebenek, Joseph Hirsch, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, editors of Ebony, Jet, and Negro Digest. Lee-Smith's statement on the definition and function of people's art, written in 1945, clippings, occasional shipping and commission papers and announcements complete the collection.
REEL N70-10: Correspondence and a few clippings and catalogs; correspondence with South Side Community Center, Chicago, about a teaching appointment; Howard University; Detroit Museum of Art Founders Society; Detroit History Commission; Cleveland Museum of Art; and the University of Michigan; and the Kraushaar Galleries, who represented Lee-Smith during the mid 1950's.
Biographical material includes membership documents, address books, and assorted certificates pertaining to Lee-Smith's education and career. Correspondence includes postcards, greeting cards, and letters to friends, family members, associates, galleries, organizations, and teachers. Of particular note is Lee-Smith's voluminous correspondence with Sophie Wessel, an artist and activist in Chicago, Ill. Their letters cover many years and illustrate the changing and often difficult role of African-American artists.
Writings consist of miscellaneous notebooks, artists' statements, manuscripts for articles on art practice and history, and lecture notes from Lee-Smith's career as a teacher. Scrapbooks contain clippings from newspapers and magazines mentioning Lee-Smith and his work; they cover nearly the entirety of Lee-Smith's career, but are particularly rich in material from the 1950s and 1960s.
Photographs document Lee-Smith's family, his childhood, his work in the studio, his service in the Navy during World War II, as well as time spent at openings, parties, and events in his honor. Also included are photographs of landscapes, foliage, and dilapidated buildings, used by Lee-Smith as source images for his paintings, and slides and transparencies of Lee-Smith's work as well as slides used in his lectures. Audio-visual material consists of recorded interviews with Lee-Smith on audio cassette as well as extensive video footage on beta cassette recorded in 2001 by New Deal Films, Inc. to produce a documentary on the Lee-Smith.
Biographical/Historical Note: Hughie Lee-Smith (1915-1999) was a painter and educator in Illinois, Michigan, and New York.
Donated 1969-1981 by Hughie Lee-Smith. The remainder was donated in 2011 by Patricia Lee-Smith, Hughie Lee-Smith's wife.
How to Use this Collection
- Microfilm reels N69-111and N70-10 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.
- Authorization to publish requires written permission from: Robert Panzer, VAGA, 350 Fifth Ave., Suite 2820, New York, NY 10118; tel. 212-736-6666; fax 212-736-6767; email@example.com
The donor, Patricia Lee-Smith, has retained copyright.
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