Barbara Poe Levee

Obituary
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March 4, 1922 - September 13, 2013 Barbara Poe Levee, a painter and art collector, passed away at her home in Los Angeles on September 13, at the age of 91. The daughter of Bernard and Rebecca Reis, she was born in New York and educated there at the Rudolf Steiner School and at the International School of Geneva in Switzerland. Returning to the US, she studied painting under Kurt Seligman, and her work was first exhibited in the 1942 Surrealist show in New York selected and organized by Marcel Duchamp and Andre Breton. In 1943, she married naval officer James Poe, and after two years in Key West, Florida, they moved to Los Angeles. Poe was an Academy Award-winning screen writer whose distinguished works included Around the World in Eighty Days, Lilies of the Field, and They Shoot Horses Don't They? They had two children, Lorna and Adam. Barbara continued painting and became a vibrant presence in the Los Angeles art world, where she was a founding member of the UCLA Arts Council. Together with Walter and Louise Arensberg and actor-collectors Vincent Price, Fanny Brice, and Edward G. Robinson, she organized in 1946 at Exposition Park the first public exhibition of contemporary art in Los Angeles, which led in 1947 to the creation of the seminal Institute of Art in Beverly Hills. Her paintings are included in the collections of the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, Mrs. Albert Lasker, and the University Art Museum, Berkeley. Her generous gifts enrich the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum at UCLA, and the Getty Villa. Divorced in 1963, Barbara married Hollywood agent Michael Levee. She continued to exhibit her work at the Sharon Truax Gallery in Venice CA and had her last exhibition at Michael's Restaurant in Santa Monica in 2008. She is survived by her son Adam, his wife Anne, grandson Alexander Poe, granddaughter Amanda Poe Little and husband Lance Little, and her great-granddaughter Taylor Little.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Oct. 13 to Oct. 15, 2013
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