Lee Freeman Hersch (1896-1953) was born 5 September 1896 in Cleveland, Ohio. He was a painter in realist and abstract styles. He died in Madrid, Spain in 1953.
Lee Hersch studied painting with Henry Keller, Kenyon Cox and Douglas Volk at the Cleveland School of Art and the National Academy of Design. His subject matter was varied. In 1918, in Taos, New Mexico, he painted scenes with Indians of the Taos Pueblo. In 1921 he married novelist Helen Virginia Davis (1896-1978). The couple met and married in Paris and for several years thereafter their studio on the Left Bank was a popular gathering-place for painters, writers, and other intellectuals.
In 1925, Lee Hersch held a solo exhibit at the Montross Gallery in New York. In the 1930s, he was painting mainly landscapes, dividing his time between California and New York.
After the second world war, his work became more abstract, and he joined the ranks of New York’s influential abstract expressionists, an art movement that rivaled or echoed what was happening in the Parisian art world. Hersch was given a one-man show by Peggy Guggenheim in her gallery in New York, which became well-known for shows of abstract expressionism, by artists such as Jackson Pollock, William Baziotes and Hans Hofmann.
Relatively little is known about some parts of the life of Lee F. Hersch, but his works include a “super modernist impressionist painting” of Mexico’s Lake Chapala, described by the Bruce Palmer Galleries as having “great color and energy, and in fine condition”. It is thought to have been painted relatively early in his career, circa 1930.
Hersch was a member of the Painters and Sculptors of Los Angeles and the Woodstock Art Association. He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Salons of America. A retrospective of his work, with accompanying catalog, was held in Paris in 1954.
Bio credit: Bruce Palmer Galleries.