Printmaker, Studio Art Associate Professor and former chair of the UT Department of Art and Art History Lee Roy Chesney III passed away June 27, 2021. Chesney joined the department as a summer instructor in printmaking soon after completing his Masters of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University in 1972. He joined the faculty in 1975 and spent 49 years as a gifted and dedicated teacher of printmaking at The University of Texas at Austin.
Chesney spent his early years in the Midwest, with extended stays all over the world, including Japan and France, as he and his family followed Chesney’s father, a prominent printmaker, in the 1950s and 1960s. Like his father, Chesney III discovered a love of art and pursued it as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (BFA, painting 1969) and as a graduate student at Indiana University (MFA with honors in Printmaking).
Over the course of his 49 years living in Austin and teaching in the Department of Art and Art History, Chesney trained and mentored many students. He was known for his generous spirit and technical skill in intaglio printmaking, which he dove into after his arrival at UT Austin, experimenting with investigations into landscape forms and the viscosity printing in recent years before his passing. Chesney’s work was exhibited nationally and internationally in more than 130 competitive and invitational exhibitions throughout the world. His work entered public collections in Paris, Rome, Peking, Pretoria, Hong Kong, Boston, San Diego and Honolulu.
Chesney’s impact in Austin extended far beyond the bounds of the Forty Acres through his support of and work with the city’s printmaking community. He was an early champion of Flatbed Center for Contemporary Printmaking and Austin’s citywide celebration of print, PrintAustin, among many others.
At a memorial in Chesney’s honor on July 24, the faculty and staff of the Print area presented his surviving family with plans to dedicate the Intaglio Lab and Classroom to Lee R. Chesney III in recognition of his nearly 50 years of service.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that extended friends and colleagues consider donations to causes such as the Capitol Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Rotary International; and the Department of Art and Art History at UT, where Chesney established a scholarship for undergraduate printmaking students.