Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1846, Magee established himself as a landscape and portrait painter. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, as well as in New York with William Merritt Chase, and Paris with Robert Henri.
His works were exhibited in the Annuals at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art from 1899-1908. In 1902 he was awarded a Silver Medal and in 1907, a Gold Medal from the American Art Society. His work is in the Lord Richmond Collection in London and the Johnson Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Magee was a member of the Society of Independent Artists, the American Art Society of Philadelphia, the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Concord Art Association.
The artist died in 1924.