The 1930s were arguably Henry Lee McFee's (1886-1953) most successful years both artistically and commercially. He had two one-man exhibitions at Rehn Galleries, both of which were praised by the critics and sold well. The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the St. Louis Museum of Art, and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. purchased McFee's canvases during the same period. Stylistically, he synthesized his pure Cezanne-inspired Cubism with more atmospheric qualities, tonal surfaces, and softer angles.
During McFee's 1936 exhibition of drawings at Rehn, he eloped to Savannah with his second wife, Eleanor Brown Gutsell. McFee enjoyed Savannah and soon set up a studio there, while also spending time in San Antonio and Woodstock. In 1938 he started an art school in Savannah where he taught local artists in his studio. McFee left Savannah in 1940 when he was offered a teaching position at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.