Lee Gatch American, 1902-1968

Overview

Lee Gatch was born outside Baltimore, Maryland in 1902.  He enrolled in the Maryland Institute of Art where he began his formal artistic training. While enrolled he had the opportunity to study under Leon Kroll and John Sloan. After graduation and armed with a traveling scholarship Gatch enrolled in the American School at Fontainebleau, France. However, he became dissatisfied with the classes there, and so in 1924 he moved to Paris, where he enrolled at the Académie Modern with Moise Kisling and André Lhote, a cubist academician. While in France, Gatch came in contact with the paintings of Andre Derain, Edouard Vuillard, and Pierre Bonnard. He greatly admired their application of color to create a sense of space. Gatch returned to the United States in 1925. He had his first one-man show in 1932 in New York. He spent the summer of 1935 in Yaddo, an artists' colony in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., with the Precisionist artist Elsie Driggs, whom he later married. The couple moved to Lambertville, N.J., where he lived the rest of his life on a secluded farm. The landscape of western New Jersey provided his source of subject matter during most of his career. Like his contemporaries such as Avery, Dove, and Knaths, Gatch attempted to create a personal individual style which was drawn on the American representational tradition but which transcended this tradition in order to find meaning through design and color.

 

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s Gatch's work was widely exhibited, including representation in the Venice Biennales of 1950 and 1956. His paintings were popular, and the artist received many awards from American museums. In 1965 he received a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was inducted into the Academy the following year. He continued to work steadily until his death in 1968.

 

Exhibitions

J.B. Neumann's New Art Circle, New York, 1927, 1932, 1937

Willard Gallery, New York, 1945

New Art Circle, New York, 1946, 1949

Venice Biennales, 1950, 1956

Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York, 1954

Phillips Gallery, Washington D.C., 1954, 1956

World House Galleries, New York, 1958, 1960

Whitney Museum of American Art, 1960

National Academy of Design

Staempfli Galleries, New York, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1974

Arts Club of Chicago, 1965

Museums and Public Collections

Addison Gallery of American Art

Atlanta University Contemporary Art Collection

Baltimore Museum of Art

Boston Museum of Fine Arts

City Art Museum of St. Louis

Detroit Institute of Art

Guggenheim Museum, New York

Los Angeles County Museum

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

University of Nebraska

Wadsworth Athenaeum

Washington University, St. Louis

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

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