Lephe Holden, supervisor of art in Westport, Connecticut, and an instructor in art at the Bolton school in Westport, came to Key West in 1949.
Holden exhibited widely in New England and New York. The New York Herald Tribune in reviewing Holden’s one man show in New York said, “Lephe Holden tells the story of New England in oils and watercolors with clarity and fresh color. Her quiet village streets, with their white clapboards and tall shade trees, reflect the solid comfort and enduring quaintness of the native scene…” She had her first exhibit in Key West at The Tides, on Eaton Street, the home of artist Gertrude Laubscher, in February of 1949.
Her exhibit of Key West watercolors included scenes of the beaches, dashing boats, lanes and by-ways, old houses, Key West gardens, and the blue green waters of the Gulf Stream. In the summer Holden left Key West to teach art at the Guy Wiggins School in Essex, Connecticut, returning in winter to teach at the West Martello Gallery, and at Karns Studio Gallery on Simonton Street. Guy Wiggins said of her work, “I endorse the work of Lephe Holden, I have been familiar with it for the past few years…it has grown in breath and vigor…she rings the bell in her watercolors and her oils…her Florida scene is vibrant with sunshine and color…”
Education: Pratt Institute; Art Students League, NYC; With George Elmer Browne; Guy Wiggins Summer Art School, Essex, Connecticut, 1936. Membership: Key West Art and Historical Society; Key West Artists Group; National Association of Women Artists; Connecticut Watercolor Artists; Old Lyme Art Association; Silvermine Guild of Artists; Westport Artists Association; American Artists Guild; American Watercolor Society. Exhibits: The Tides, Key West, February 1949, Key West scenes; Key West Art and Historical Society, 1st Annual Local Art Exhibition, West Martello Art Gallery, February 1950; The Argent Galleries, New York City; Studio Guild, New York City; Key West Woman’s Club, Duval Street, March 1950; Key West Art and Historical Society, East Martello Gallery, February 1951, Galveston Lane; Artists Street Fair, Clinton Place, February 1952; Portrait of Key West, East Martello Tower, January 1953; Artists Street Fair, 4th Annual, Clinton Place, January 1953; Artists Street Fair, Clinton Place, February 1953, Fish Docks; Karns’ Studio, Duval Street, February 1953; All Key West Artists Exhibit, East Martello Tower, November 1955, Bombay Blossoms; Key West Artists Group, Annual Street Fair, February 1956, 1957; East Martello Tower, February- March 1957, with Elvira Reilly, oil and watercolor paintings; East Martello Gallery, November 1957, oils, including, Key West Street.