A dance instructor in a mental institution, a fortune teller, a restaurant owner, a carpenter, all these words describe Richard Lee in various periods of his life. But this 77 year old man is best known world wide, as one of, if not the best artist who works in reverse glass painting.
All of his zoomorphic pieces, done on antique mirrors and cabinets, start with the details and then move forward. After making a black and white draft, and stripping the mirror of all it's old silver coating, he starts creating his intriguing images backwards onto the surface, painting in highlights first. He also strips the wood, covering it with unique silver, copper and/or gold leaf, making wonderful frames for his highly delightful and complex paintings.
Barefooted most of the time, Richard works, when he's not on the beach, in a small gallery hidden behind his wife Claudia's jewelry store. Most of his masterpieces are in the $10,000 to $20,000 dollar range, but the gallery was lucky enough to score a small example, under $1000, which he donated to the once yearly and highly anticipated Chicken Alley Flea Market Tag Sale. Organized by his friend, and well-known art collector and humanitarian, Olga Hirshorn, this sale is a huge draw to those in the know, who live or summer on Martha's Vineyard. Thanks to the cooperation of my entire crew of children and grandchildren, I was able to get a place quite close to the front of the line, and grabbed the Richard Lee, along with an overlooked bakelite bracelet. Oh happy day! This work will be posted on the Beverly Kaye gallery site shortly.