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Pennsylvania Landscape

Pennsylvania Landscape, ca. 1930, Oil on Canvas
Doris Lee (American, 1905 – 1983)

Doris Lee was an American painter, muralist and illustrator who was highly successful during the Depression era. Often associated with the American Regionalist movement, Lee’s work tended to capture rural scenes of daily life in an imaginative and nostalgic style, often with a nod to American folk art. Born in Illinois, Lee studied painting in Europe and in San Francisco, before moving to New York City in the 1930s and setting up her studio in downtown Manhattan on East 14th Street. In 1935, Lee’s painting Thanksgiving won the prestigious Logan Prize at the Chicago Art Institute and brought her immediate and controversial attention. While some critics found the painting’s subject provincial and cartoon-like, it was hugely popular with the public. Her career continued to grow throughout the Depression years, and under the New Deal, the Treasury Department commissioned her to paint two murals: one for the Washington, DC post office building and another in the Summerville, Georgia post office.

This work, Pennsylvania Landscape, dates to the 1930s, the period in which Lee completed her public mural commissions as well as produced lithographs for Associated American Artists.