Henry Lee McFee


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Painter. Primarily interested in still life, in the later years of his career he also occasionally essayed landscape and figure subjects. McFee's work evolved from an adventurous engagement with cubism to a form of realism dependent on Cézanne's analysis of structure. Born in St. Louis, McFee studied at the Art Students League and in Paris. When he participated in the important Forum Exhibition of 1916, he took his place among sixteen leading American modernists. At this time, he worked in a handsome cubist-derived style, as in the 1916 Still Life (Columbus [Ohio] Museum of Art), evoking a glass compote with fruit, along with books on a table top. Like most Americans who experimented with cubism, McFee gave his painted objects greater solidity than the French, and he used brighter colors than they commonly did. During the 1920s McFee moved gradually away from the faceted planes of cubism but remained attentive to composition. Formal order and rich color harmonies remained linchpins of his art. An early arrival at Woodstock, he made his home there for many years, but by the 1930s was spending much of his time in the Los Angeles area. From 1942 on, he taught at Scripps College in Claremont. He died in a hospital in nearby Altadena.

Subjects: Art.

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