Simple Pleasures: The Art of Doris Lee


Simple Pleasures: The Art of Doris Lee presents the first major critical assessment of works by the artist Doris Lee (1905 – 1983). Lee was one of the most recognized artists in the country during the 1930s and 40s and a leading figure in the Woodstock Artist’s Colony. In response to the rise of Abstract Expressionism in the decades after World War II, Lee deftly absorbed these innovations into a continuation of her own visual style. Lee’s body of work reveals a remarkable ability to merge the reduction of abstraction with the appeal of the everyday and offers a coherent visual identity that successfully bridged various artistic “camps” that arose in the post-World War II era.

Co-curated by Barbara L. Jones and Melissa Wolfe, Curator of American Art, Saint Louis Art Museum, Simple Pleasures will include approximately 65 works by the artist spanning from the 1930s through the 1960s from both public and private collections and be comprised of paintings, drawings, prints, and commissioned commercial designs in fabric and pottery.  There will also be a small group of ephemera, such as advertisements by companies that commissioned images from Lee. A fully illustrated, full-color catalogue with four essays will accompany the exhibition.

The exhibition will travel to three additional venues: Vero Beach Museum of Art, Vero Beach, FL (December 19, 2020 – March 14, 2021); Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, TN (April 25 – July 11, 2021); and the Figge Museum of Art, Davenport, IO (September 4 – November 28, 2021).

Simple Pleasures: The Art of Doris Lee is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit This exhibition is also supported by a major grant from Henry Luce Foundation. The Museum also acknowledges support from The Barrie A. and Dee Dee Wigmore Foundation, The Richard C. Von Hess Foundation and The Fine Foundation.