From the Walt Lee Sketchbook: A Simple House, pencil on paper. 7 x 5.5.
A painter and cartoonist, Walt Lee was born on March 21, 1888 in Pasadena, California on a ranch on what is now the corner of Lake and Colorado streets. Drawing (even on toilet paper) since 4 years of age, he studied the Masters and well-known contemporary artists on his own. He read extensively about other artists – studying their palettes and techniques. In his younger years, before WWI (he enlisted) Walt had commissions for advertisement oil paintings of actors and actresses which were displayed outside the theatres by the largest movie houses on Hollywood Boulevard. Each was framed and done in about 4 times life size. Lee also studied with Hanson Puthuff and Paul Lauritz.
He later taught cartooning at the Chouinard Art School (1935) and was art director of Illustrated Daily News. He then worked in the Editorial Art Section of the Los Angeles Times until retirement in 1954. Lee was known for his subtle sense of humor which came out in the form of tricks and jokes foisted on his co-workers, and often he was repaid in kind. During his many years working in downtown Los Angeles, he occupied two private studios, one in Olvera Street and another in the famous Bradley Building, many years prior to its renovation. Lee then lived in Lancaster, California where he taught painting and was active in the local art scene. He lived in Tujunga for quite a few years late in his life, but when he fell ill with what would be his final illness, he passed away in Glendale, California at the Adventist Hospital on March 13, 1980.