Lee Reynolds Burr, artist and entrepreneur, died on December 4, 2017 at the age of 81. Lee was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1936 to Hazel Stuart Burr and Charles Reynolds Burr. He attended Los Angeles High School and received his fine arts degree at USC. Lee enlisted in the US Army and was honorably discharged in 1956. Upon his return to Los Angeles Lee worked for a local studio as a painter. He quickly realized he wanted to start his own art business and in the 1960’s used a small loan from his mother to found Vanguard Studios in Beverly Hills, CA.
Vanguard Studios was conceived as a way to provide original oil paintings to individuals who may not have been able to afford fine art. Lee painted original works which were then reproduced by hand in assembly line fashion by a team of artists he handpicked. The paintings were sold to furniture stores and interior designers throughout the US. Vanguard Studios became the leading national designer and manufacturer of wall decor. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of paintings bear variations of Lee’s name such as “Lee Reynolds”, “Reynolds”, “Reyn” Lee Reynolds Burr” and “Lee Burr” yet only hundreds were painted by Lee himself. Lee’s own commissioned large scale artworks have hung in the Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami and one 21 foot triptych was displayed in the LA airport for more than 20 years. Vanguard Studios was sold in a public offering to the Kirsch Company in December 1974 and that company continued to use Lee’s name on their paintings.
After the sale of Vanguard Studios, Lee and his family relocated to New York. Lee re-entered the art business in 1981 when he started East Park Gallery, in Sylmar, CA. East Park was a company similar in concept to Vanguard Studios but with a more contemporary aesthetic. Lee retired to Indian Wells, CA in 1998 where he lived until his death.
Lee was pre-deceased by one child, John Burr, and by his beloved wife, Vivian Tercho Burr. He is survived by his two children, Charles Reynolds Burr II of Denver, Colorado and Jennifer Burr Kallenbach (Chris) of Fairfield, Connecticut, by two grandchildren, Emma Grace Kallenbach and Madeleine Ann Kallenbach, by his brother Stuart Burr (Sheri) of La Quinta, California and sister Christin Burr, and by several nephews and nieces. Lee will be buried next to Vivian in Quaker Cemetery in Pawling, NY in a private burial. Donations in Lee’s memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org or #endalz.