This is an amazing story of a man growing up poor in the backwoods of south Florida during the depression who was determined to make a better life for himself. In the late 1930’s he began attending the University of Florida and majoring in art where it quickly became his passion.
After serving in the military, he continued his art in Los Angeles, CA. at Otis Art Institute under the G.I. Bill. At Otis, he learned printmaking and started mastering the ancient art of stone lithography in black and white and color.
Buell Whitehead’s style of art took the Los Angeles and Hollywood area by storm. His color lithographs of western landscapes and Florida scenes that reflected his early life experiences were an instant success, and were unlike anything anyone had seen. With his rise in popularity he was soon selling works and holding art exhibitions at the Beverly Hills Hotel. His works were also starting to decorate the walls of movie sets in the Golden Era of Hollywood.
Buell’s ability to produce beautiful lithographs made fine art affordable to the general public. He traveled coast to coast across the U.S. selling his prints to decorators and hotels. By 1950, he was selling more art than any other artist his age or younger in America and was recognized as being in the top 5 printmakers in the country. His art was being hung in some of the finest hotels around the country. Few artists could equal his color skills in lithography. Primarily recognized as a Florida regional artist, he is also recognized as a California regional artist during the years he spent there creating west coast and western scenes.
Buell’s tireless effort to pursue his lifelong passion for art gave all of us a view of the west and his Florida upbringing through his eyes and heart.