Star Map, 1932, Pen and ink, 17.5″ x 17.75″ Collection of James Dighton Lea © James D. Lea
Print measures 26″ x 26″, which includes 4″ of white border around image area
Limited edition of 365 prints.
Tom Lea left his home in El Paso, Texas to attend the Art Institute of Chicago in 1924. He married fellow art student Nancy Taylor and stayed in Chicago until 1933, working on murals for the architectural firm Holabird and Root. The Leas lived in a one-room kitchenette on the tenth floor of an apartment building on Fullerton Avenue at the edge of Lincoln Park, but with no view of the trees and the grass. Tom was homesick for the “bright sun, clear air, huge space in southwestern country.” He would make drawings of escape—including this star map—with a Right Ascension timetable of the constellations in the northern heavens. Tom Lea wrote that he saw in his mind's eye “the North Star and the Big Dipper over Mount Franklin at home, remembering how the little dots of white I placed and lettered made the shape of old Orion coming up over the Huecos on a fall evening, or the Lyre with bright Vega high overhead in the quietness at Mimbres on a summer night.” Tom Lea, A Picture Gallery, Boston: Little Brown and Company, p. 7-8.