Lee Godie

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Lee Godie (1908–1994) was an American self-taught artist who lived most of her life in Chicago. Lee Godie was born Jamot Emily Godee.https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lee_Godie&action=edit She later married and had four children, but following the death of two of her children and the failure of her two marriages she found herself living on the streets of Chicago. Godie could be seen on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago arriving on the scene in 1968 selling her canvases to passerby. She worked in a variety of mediums which included watercolor, pencil, tempera, ballpoint pen, and crayon and on a number of surfaces such as canvas, poster board, sheets of paper and discarded window blinds. Some of her works were several pieces stitched together in the fashion of a triptych or book. Also included in the array of art works Godie created are the black-and-white snapshots from photo booths she took of herself dressed up in different personae. She would take these photos and embellish certain parts of them, adding color to her lips or nails or painting on darker eyebrows.[1]

Godie was a self-styled French Impressionist with the belief in her work as being as significant as Paul Cézanne.[2] She was particular about who she sold her art to and even to whom she talked to. Her fashion style was just as unique as her personality, and she could be seen wearing different swatches of fabric wrapped around herself or fur coats that were pieced together.

Lee Godie remained in downtown Chicago for almost a 30-year period, becoming a facet to the social milieu during that time. Eventually Godie was reunited with her daughter Bonnie Blank, who moved her out to the suburbs to live with her. On August 28, 1991, Chicago’s Mayor Daley proclaimed September “Lee Godie Exhibition Month”. [3] Between November 13, 1993 and January 16, 1994, an exhibition entitled "Artist Lee Godie: A Twenty-Year Retrospective", curated by Michael Bonesteel, who wrote the "Lee Godie" article in Raw Vision magazine, was presented at the Chicago Cultural Center. From September 12, 2008 to January 3, 2009, an exhibition of over 100 pieces of Lee Godie’s work entitled “Finding Beauty: The Art of Lee Godie” was on exhibit at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City, the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Arkansas Arts Center and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.


  1. ^ Moss, J., Syrek D. (2008). "Finding Beauty: The Art of Lee Godie". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Heise, K (1994). "Chicago `Outsider' Artist, Street Person Lee Godie". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Lee Godie". BlackSheepArt.com. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 

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