Artist of the moment….Hughie Lee Smith…..

The artist was born in Eustis, Florida in 1915.

He was known for being one of few african american artists dealing with surrealism.

A clip from the Detroit Artist’s Market show featuring the artist from 2008. This was done by an art fan and its her trip thru the gallery, pictures start at 1:11 into the clip if you are impatient to wait for the artwork like myself! Also in this clip are some of his lithograph works.

For his art education Smith attended the Cleveland Institute of the Art. He finished his degree at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Smith was elected to the National Academy of Design.

From a design standpoint two other artists come to my mind. The first being Ed Hopper. Hopper was best known for his portrayal of light that took place on the coastal lands of Maine and northeast. When I look at Hoppers paintings I feel the stillness and calmness of the surrounding ocean. I get this same sense of calmness and peace from the works of Hughie Lee- Smith. Hopper’s work also had an intense feeling of isolation. That you were spying on someone as they went about their daily life. Its this same feeling of “I don’t care if you watch me,” that I get from Smith’s artwork.

Another artist that comes to mind would be Robert Vickrey. Vickrey is a master of light and shadow who often paints surreal scenes with some of the same objects as of Hughie Lee Smith such as balloons and circular shapes. Both artists also took pride in depicting brick walls taking advantage of the repeating rectangular shapes and the fun texture. Vickrey painted mainly in egg tempera and passed away in April of 2011.

Here is a great work from the late Robert Vickrey. A great sense of timelessness here, I would venture everyone adult has blown at least one bubble during their lifetime!

For all three artists,  Ed Hopper,  Robert Vickrey, and Hughie Lee Smith, each does a great job at freezing the moment and emotion at the time. Its like with an Andy Warhol, a sense of time stopping allowing the viewer to take it all in!

He went on to teach at Wayne State and also was a dancer.

Hughie Lee- Smith was also a product of the WPA, or Works Progress Administration, this was a government sponsored part of the New Deal. It encouraged and promoted new buildings and for artists opportunities to create public murals or sculptures. Hughie Lee Smith worked in Ohio and in the Navy for the WPA.

1958 the artist moved to New York beginning a teaching position at the Art Students League where he taught classes for fifteen years. Painted the offcial portrait of the New York city Major David Dinkins in 1994.

Low price range: Pencil works from $1400 to $ 8500. Ink works from $400.

High price ranges: Watercolors from $2,500 to $10,000. Original oils from $10,000 to $102,000.

Lived and worked most of his life out of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

He died of cancer in Albuquerque in 1999 at the age of 73 years old.

This artist was great in his subject matter and I highly respect his advances into Surrealism. I enjoy the sense of calmness and timelessness the artist brought to his works!

D

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