As nearly as I can determine, my husband, D. Lee DuSell, has been an artist for his entire life.
We met at Cranbrook (Institute)(Bloomfield Hills, MI) - had painting studios across from each other.He had just studied in Mexico at the Escuella De Bellas Artes, and before that had been in the Navy where he did more painting portraits of officers than combat, and before that he had commuted into Chicago from Aurora, IL, to study at the American Academy of Art.
Painting and print making were his
interests and he
was extremely good at both.His
early art experiences began to shape a philosophy.It was the time when Saarinen, Eames, Bertoia and Milles were close to the Cranbrook community, and they were all showing the interaction of art and everyday life on very lofty levels.During his stay in Mexico, Lee
was able to visit and meet muralist Jose Clemente Orozco - thick glasses, rumpled work clothes, working on a wall - totally inspiring as an artist portraying his ideas out where all people could see and ponder.
...We left Cranbrook at the end of the school year in 1950 and were married in the fall on the strength of a job offer for Lee to become the director of the Art Barn School of Art in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Let me just say here that we have been in many situations where we could have stayed for many, many years and been productive in content, but life had a way of moving us out of those comfortable situations and throwing us off into a new direction.So it was with Salt Lake City.Lee's father owned a dress factory in Aurora, IL, and needed help because of a medical emergency.Back we went to Aurora, IL - working in the garment factory - building furniture in the evenings in the DuSell family home basement.That's where the current exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts
comes in. In 1953 Lee
entered the ÒDesigner Craftsman USAÓ exhibit with a dining table which won a top award.In the book published to accompany the current exhibit, The Maker's Hand, the authors write the following: "A decade later, the American Craftsmen's
Council mounted a significant exhibition, itself a landmark, with the assistance of the Brooklyn Museum of Art
and other institutions, titled Designer Craftsmen, USA, 1953.The goal of the show was to assess on a nationwide basis 'what is being done in the craft field in the US,' but, again, furniture was represented amid a host of other objects in other materials.Loren Manbeck of Massachusetts received a Grand Award (one of only four given) from the jurors for an elegant, rectilinear buffet-dining table.An extraordinary birch table with high, arching cast-aluminum legs by D. Lee DuSell
of Illinois, etc." (Figure #3, page 21, shows a picture of the table.)October 2, 1956, Look magazine featured a wonderful, glamorous two-page spread of the dining table with one other DuSell small table of a different design and other furniture pieces under the title "The Platinum Look - Practical aluminum and stainless steel give home furnishings a cool, billion-dollar look."I just walked by that very table upstairs in Lee's
studio on my way to water plants.Between then and now - a fabulous career in which Lee was able to move into the realm of producing art of monumental proportions as an artist-consultant for 30 years to architect Minoru Yamasaki - to teach the virtues of personal creativity as a 30-year member of the faculty at Syracuse University - and to express his thoughts through art in every aspect of his life.
...D. Lee DuSell
is not on your computer.If you wish to see his
work, I suggest the following: ÒEight Entry DoorsÓ at the McGregor Memorial Conference Center, Wayne State University
, Detroit, MI; Bimah Design, including the wall, platform, ark, eternal light, menorah, and lecterns for the North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe, IL; entry doors for the Engineering Science Building, Harvard University
, Cambridge, MA.; bronze city seal, Watertown, NY; large cast bronze sculpture, plaza, Everson Museum of Art
, Syracuse, NY; stainless steel sculptural cross, Schenectady, NY, Lynnwood Reformed Church
(outside), and other works of art in Syracuse, Indianapolis, Saudi Arabia, Japan .. and entry doors, sculpture, etchings, specialty display pieces at our Thing of the Past Antiques Shop
in Nelson, NY.D. Lee DuSell
is still in his
studio working.Keep tuned.