HomeBrowseAdvanced SearchAboutHelpContact

Lee Hall records

Biographical note

Artist, teacher, and author, Lee Hall served as RISD President from 1975 to 1983. Born in Lexington, KY in 1934, she received a BFA from the University of North Carolina in 1955 and her MA (1959) and Ph.D. (1965) from New York University. Hall taught at SUNY (Potsdam, NY), 1958-1960, and served as Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Art at Keuka College (Keuka Park, NY), 1960-1962. From 1962 to 1965, she taught at Winthrop College (Rock Hill, SC) and then served as Chair of the Department of Art, Drew University (Madison, NJ), 1965-1974. She held the position of Dean of Visual Arts at SUNY (Purchase, NY) when she received the appointment to RISD. In addition, she worked for the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1972-1979, as a panelist, site visitor, and consultant.

A period of conflict and reform, Hall's tenure included a restructuring of financial administration, the introduction of computer systems for administration and planning, the attempted revision of the Faculty Manual, and the unionization of the Faculty. The Administration and the Faculty negotiated the first contract in 1979. A two-week Faculty strike in April 1982 preceded the second contract. Years of budget deficits came to an end during Hall's presidency.

Lee Hall maintained a painting studio at her farm in Lyme, CT. Her friendships with artists Betty Parsons, Elaine de Kooning, and others brought her frequently to New York, where she exhibited her paintings at the Betty Parsons Gallery (NY) beginning in 1974. She instituted the President's Fellows Awards (1978) and opened RISD:NY (1979), in part, to draw RISD closer to New York City.

Hall resigned her office effective June 30, 1983 in order to become a partner in the Betty Parsons Gallery. She joined the Academy for Educational Development (NY) in 1984 as a Senior Vice-President and Director of the Office of Arts and Communication. She wrote numerous books after 1983 including Betty Parsons: Artist, Dealer, Collector (1991) and Elaine and Bill, Portrait of a Marriage: The Lives of Willem and Elaine de Kooning (1993).

Hall moved to South Hadley, MA during the early 1990s where she continued to paint. She became an advisor and supporter of the new Bechtler Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC donating all of her works of art to assist in the development of the museum. Lee Hall died in Northampton, MA 2017 April 17.