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Lee Hall papers, circa 1870s-2017, bulk 1975-2010

Biographical Note

Lee Hall (1935-2017) was a painter, author, and arts administrator who served as president of the Rhode Island School of Design from 1975-1983. Born in Lexington, North Carolina and raised in Florida following her parents' divorce, Lee Hall later returned to her birth state to attend the Woman's College of the University of North Carolina. She received her bachelor of fine arts in 1955, studying under the abstract painter John Opper. She eventually earned a masters degree in art education and a PhD in creative arts, both from New York University. Hall's paintings shared an Abstract Expressionist sensibility common with many of her peers at the Betty Parsons Gallery, imparted on the figurative tradition of landscape painting. Hall showed her paintings at the Betty Parsons Gallery from the late seventies until 1982 when the gallery closed following Parsons' death, after which she ceased exhibiting her work almost entirely until the last decade of her life. Hall maintained a studio at her home in South Hadley, Massachusetts throughout her life. A few years before Parson's death Hall had agreed to write Parsons' biography, finally released in 1991, on the condition that she and papers were made available for intensive research. Hall published titles on a wide variety of subjects including a comprehensive survey of American clothing (1992), and perhaps most notably the controversial biography of painters Elaine and Willem de Kooning (1993).