Hughie Lee-Smith ran track with fellow student Jesse Owens at East Technical High School in Cleveland.
Trained in Cleveland before launching his mature career in Detroit and New York, Lee-Smith frequently painted isolated—and often solitary—figures amid desolate cityscapes and landscapes. They have pronounced overtones of introspection, which the artist attributed, in part, to his experiences navigating the forces and effects of racism: "In my case, aloneness, I think, has stemmed from the fact that I’m Black. Unconsciously it has a lot to do with alienation."
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