HEAD AND HAND: James Lechay


PAAM 2017 exhibition catalogue

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Known for both his portrait and his landscape paintings, James Lechay’s work often blends genres. “Portraits sometimes appear within landscapes. His landscapes include cityscape abstracted to their essence. Still lifes are flattened and separated, upending the tradition of rendering objects on a tabletop with depth and a sense of space,” writes Curator Megan Hinton in her essay for the exhibition catalogue.

A versatile artist, Lechay worked with a diverse array of media: oil, gouache, casein, lithography, and even bronze. He began painting seriously in 1929, when he left the University of Illinois for New York City and became immersed in the teachings of the New York School of Painting. In the 1940s, Lechay worked for the WPA (Works Progress Administration) painting street scenes and urban architecture in New York City, and became Professor at the University of Iowa, a position he held for 30 years. His art was shown locally in Wellfleet at the late Sally Nerber’s beloved Cherrystone Gallery. Additional works, complementing the PAAM exhibition, will be on view at The Berta Walker Gallery in Provincetown.