In 1931, upon graduating from Manual Arts, Lehman won a citywide competition
for a sculpture scholarship to Otis Art Institute. At Otis, he worked
with Roger Noble Burnham and George Stanley (who created the original
"Oscar"). At the end of that year, he won the Sculpture Award at the
Otis Art Institute exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum for the Prophet
During his years at Otis, Lehman was still primarily working as a sculptor.
He used plaster and clay, as well as carving directly in stone.
Upon leaving Otis Art Institute, Lehman concentrated mainly on painting.
In 1933, his first major work, The Landlady, won 2nd Award
at the 14th Annual Exhibition of Painters and Sculptors at the Los Angeles
A storm of controversy was created by the Landlady. The
academic artists who were competing felt slighted by the jury for their
choice of an expressionist piece. The Landlady was soon
exhibited all over California and received much critical acclaim.
In a review of the exhibit in the Los Angeles Times dated
5/28/33, Arthur Millier talks about the controversy between the "younger"
and "older" artists. He wrote:
Realism and organization, in a word, have replaced
romance and idealism in every field. The older artist, feeling himself
secure on top of the rock of a supposedly stable society, could let
himself go romantically. The artist who is really of this age starts
with the facts, and the most conspicuous facts today are not roses,
but idle factories; not beautiful, sheltered damsels, but capable,
informed young women who are wondering where they go from here; not
contented old ladies with incomes, but hard-bitten, hard-working realistic
old women like Mr. Lehman's "Landlady"."
Top of page