Urgent Museum Notice


Close up of Siesta

Outdoors, a dark-skinned woman in a peach dress reclines on a bed, a bird perches on the headboard and a rooster on the footboard. In the foreground, a wine glass and bowl sit on a tree stump, and an open book, bowl of cherries, pair of shoes and a wine bottle sit on the grass.

Doris Lee, Siesta, 1944; Oil on canvas, 27 x 36 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of the Honorable Clare Boothe Luce; © Estate of Doris Lee, Courtesy of D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc.; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Doris Lee

Painter, illustrator, and designer Doris Lee became famous for her Depression-era murals and depictions of everyday life. Siesta, with its folk-art style, is typical of Lee’s work.

A woman crowned with a wreath of leaves reclines on a bed that is located outdoors. Eyes closed and fan at rest across her torso, the woman appears to sleep. An open book, bowl of cherries, elegant shoes, and a stoppered bottle are arrayed in the grass alongside the bed. A handy tree stump serves as a side table and an alert rooster perches as the foot of the bed—a sort of living alarm clock.

The outdoor setting for a bed and interesting assortment of domestic objects reinforce the curious, whimsical quality of this bucolic setting. Yet, viewers are left wondering whether Siesta represents reality, a dream, or something else entirely.

Throughout her career, Lee’s popular and appealing work appeared on greeting cards, calendars, menus, pottery, and fabric design. Simplified and fanciful depictions of people, animals, and places can be found throughout the materials in The Doris Lee Collection, which is housed in NMWA’s archives. Clippings and photographs that she gathered served as inspiration for her imagery.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Doris Lee
  • Title

  • Date

  • Medium

    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions

    27 x 36 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of the Honorable Clare Boothe Luce
  • Photo Credit

    © Estate of Doris Lee, Courtesy of D. Wigmore Fine Art, Inc.; Photo by Lee Stalsworth
  • On Display