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Original oil painting on canvas by James Lechay (American, 1907-2001), signed l.l. James Lechay and dated 1941. In excellent condition. Framed but the frame does not appear to be original. 20" by 15", painting alone; 25" by 20" in its frame.
This painting is a portrait of the artist De Hirsh Margules who gave Lechay his first exhibition in 1936, at the gallery he ran in New York, "Another Place" (Lechay painted other portraits of De Hirsh Margules, as well as an homage to this artist titled "To De Hirsh Margules".) It is a good example of the artist's early works, when hues of blue and gray were still predominant (his palette becomes warmer in the works of the fifties and later).
James Lechay was born in New York, and studied with his brother the painter Myron Lechay. Besides his friendship with Margules we should note that he was close to a number of important American artists including Milton Avery, Max Weber, Zorach, Rothko, Gorky, the Soyer brothers.
Lechay participated in the WPA program. He organized exhibitions of Milton Avery's, and Max Weber's works. After the war he succeeded Philip Guston as an art professor at the University of Iowa, in the seat once held by Grant Wood.
Works by Lechay are in the collections of a number of important institutions, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the AIC, NAD, PAFA, the Smithsonian, etc.