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ANNIE LEE ART GALLERY

Annie Frances Lee is well known for her unique ability to celebrate African-American culture particularly with humor. She has established herself internationally not only as an artist, but a respected and business savvy entrepreneur. Her noted ability to convey feelings through the faceless subjects of her paintings has won her a place in history as one of the icons of African-American art. “My paintings are of everyday life. I try to paint things that people can identify with,” Lee says.

Born in Gadsden, Ala. in 1935 and raised in Chicago, Lee began painting at age 10 in elementary school, where she won her first art contest and received a free semester of study at the Art Institute of Chicago. She continued honing her artistic skills resulting in a four-year scholarship to Northwestern University. However, she chose marriage and raising a family over attending school. Lee did not resume painting until she was 40 years old. By then, she had lost two husbands to cancer and raised a daughter from her first marriage and a son from her second. While working as the chief clerk at Northwestern Railroad, Annie studied art at night, eventually earning a masters degree in Interdisciplinary Art from Loyola University. Painting at night was Lee’s haven and release from the pressures of everyday life. Her railroad job inspired one of Lee’s most popular paintings, “Blue Monday,” which depicts a woman struggling to pull herself out of bed on a Monday morning. Living in such close proximity to her art caused new challenges for Lee. She developed tendinitis and spinal problems from painting so much. Even worse, the fumes from the acrylic paints she used made her sick. Despite these problems, she continued to paint, having her first gallery show in 1985. The show was so successful that Lee allowed prints to be made of four of the paintings, so that she could meet the demand for her work.

A hallmark of Lee’s work is that the figures she paints are faceless. “You don’t need to see a face to understand emotion,” Lee explained. “I try to make the movement of the body express the emotion. And people can use their imaginations.” Annie Lee's art has been used as decorations for television and movie sets such as “A Different World”, “227,” “Coming to America,” “Boomerang” and “Barber Shop.” Annie Lee passed away in 2014.

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The Family That Prays Together by Annie Lee This print depicts a boy and a girl playing hoops with a makeshift basket Al Ain't Here by Annie Lee All That Glitters by Annie Lee
A Family That Prays Together
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A Future President and His First Lady
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Al Ain't Here
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All That Glitters
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At Ease print depicts a group of Buffalo Soldier taking a break from battle to rest Blue Monday by Annie Lee Burn You Baby? by Annie Lee Buster by Annie Lee
At Ease
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Blue Monday
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Burn You Baby?
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Buster
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Compliments to the Cook Daily Snooze by Annie Lee Dance Marathon by Annie Lee Final Red Tag Sale by Annie Lee
Compliments to the Cook
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Daily Snooze
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Dance Marathon
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Final Red Tag Sale
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Fish Heads by Annie Lee Full Set or Fill-In by Annie Lee In Control by Annie Lee Is it Just Me by Annie Lee
Fish Heads
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Full Set or Fill-In
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In Control
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Is it Just Me
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Jammin' da Chute by Annie Lee Links Tips Wings and Fries by Annie Lee Love Song by Annie Lee Mama Queen by Annie Lee
Jammin' da Chute
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Links Tips Wings and Fries
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Love Song
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Mama Queen
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Mississippi Samsonite by Annie Lee Mitch by Annie Lee My Cup Runneth Over by Annie Lee Out the Back Door by Annie Lee
Mississippi Samsonite
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My Cup Runneth Over
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Out the Back Door
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Mini Print
Over Easy by Annie Lee Overheated by Annie Lee Passion by Annie Lee Pay the Rent Quarter Party by Annie Lee
Over Easy
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Overheated
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Passion
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Pay the Rent Quarter Party
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Preach On by Annie Lee Put Some Skirt on the Cards by Annie Lee Rebirth by Annie Lee Red Alert Power Surge by Annie Lee
Preach On
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Put Some Skirt on the Cards
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Rebirth
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Red Alert Power Surge
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Rhapsody in A Minor by Annie Lee Sadie's Relief by Annie Lee Second Set by Annie Lee Seeds and Rinds by Annie Lee
Rhapsody in A Minor
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Sadie's Relief
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Second Set
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Seeds and Rinds
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Six No Uptown by Annie Lee Sixty Pounds by Annie Lee Spin Cycle by Annie Lee Spit Shine and Finger Weave by Annie Lee
Six No Uptown
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Sixty Pounds
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Spin Cycle
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Spit Shine and Finger Weave
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