National Museum of Women in the Arts
Beatrice McComb Ley
August 23 1890 - June 07 1980
Photograph of Beatrice McComb Ley, unknown date, unknown photographer. (c) Barbara D. Duncan
Place of Birth:
Phonetic Spelling:
BEE-ah-TRIHS mihc-COHM lay
Work Type/Media:
Drawings and prints, Painting, Photography, Textiles and clothing
Artistic Role(s):
Designer, Fashion Designer, Painter, Photographer
Artist's Biography:
The artistic career of Beatrice McComb Ley was greatly varied. Her interests ranged from painting to horticulture, and her educational persistence enabled her to develop new artistic skills throughout her life.

Born in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Ley began experimenting with watercolors at a young age. At the Mount Vernon Seminary and College in Washington, DC, she studied a variety of subjects including domestic science, sewing, and needlework. After traveling in Europe and living in New York, she moved to Little Rock, Arkansas in 1917 with her husband, Thomas N. Doyle, Jr. There, Thomas Doyle managed his family’s prosperous dry goods store and Ley spent the early 1920s designing children’s clothing.

In 1925, Ley’s husband died, and she returned to New York where she registered for The Art Students League. Ley continued to develop her artistic skills while also designing clothing patterns for Vogue. She went on to study at Traphagen School of Design and continued her artistic education through The Art Students League where she took her first life drawing classes and soon began exhibiting work.

In 1933 Ley married Harrold A. Ley. She continually explored new artistic pursuits, including photography, and set up a studio where she developed her own prints. In 1934, Ley and her husband visited his estate Fernley in New Hampshire where she developed and designed the gardens. Ley spent much of her time in the 1940s and 1950s traveling with her husband in Europe, Mexico, and Peru, painting and collaborating other artists.

Upon her husband's death n 1957, Ley immersed herself in her work and continued traveling to Italy and England. In 1969, at the age of seventy-nine, she began studies in etching at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She continued working on the gardens at Fernley and painted until her death in 1980.

Other Occupation(s):
Dancer, Musician, Writer
Place(s) of Residence:
Little Rock
Where Trained/Schools:
The Art Students League of New York, New York, NY, USA (1925 - 1971) Pratt Institute, New York, NY, USA (1969) Ben Magin Rabinovich School, New York, NY, USA (1934) Traphagen School of Design, New York, NY, USA (1929 - 1931) Columbia University, New York, NY, USA (1925) Noyes Rhythm School, New York, NY, USA (1914 - 1916) Mount Vernon Seminary and College, Washington, DC, USA (1908 - 1910)
Related Visual Artists:
student of George Bridgman student of Eliot O'Hara student of George Grosz student of Byron Browne student of Charles Alston student of Will Barnet student of Nathan Cabot Hale student of Mario Cooper student of Howard Trafton student of Paul Brockman student of Leonard Creo influenced by Frederick Taubes influenced by John Sloan influenced by Edward Steichen influenced by Paul Cézanne
Earliest exhibition:
Cheshire Gallery, New York, NY, USA (1932)
Artist retrospective(s):
Two Artists in Retrospect, Isabelle Hurlbutt Gallery, Greenwich Public Library, Greenwich, CT, USA (1973)
Related places
Melvin Village (died at)