Jonas Lie (1880-1940)

Jonas Lie (1880-1940)

[Jonas Lie] prefers the busy, landlocked harbor, with its crowding fishing craft. Almost invariably, he likes to climb headland eminence and look down upon the scene below, for the sails of the fleet are silhouetted against the shimmering water, affording the artist ample material for the creation of a forceful pattern. And above all else, Mr. Lie dearly loves design in his canvases, and forceful color.[1]


[1] Boston Evening Transcript, November 1930.

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Jonas Lie was born in Norway, came to the United States at the age of thirteen via Paris, studied art in New York City, and by his early forties was one of the best-known landscape painters of his time.  After the death of his father in 1892, young Jonas left Oslo and was sent to Paris to live with his uncle and aunt, whose home was a meeting place for avant-garde musicians and writers, such as Edvard Grieg and Henrik Ibsen. After a year in France, Lie joined his mother and sisters in New York, where he worked for nine years designing shirts in a textile mill to support his family, while attending night classes at the National Academy of Design, the City University Art School and the Art Students League. In 1906, a brief trip to Paris brought him under the influence of Claude Monet and from this point onward Lie became known for his colorful Impressionistic scenes of Europe, the mountains and valleys of the Adirondacks and the harbors of New England, where he spent his summers. 

Lie enjoyed great success as an artist and established himself as an important figure in the art circles of his day. He won a silver medal at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904, was awarded the Hallgarten Prize at the National Academy in 1914 and one year later earned a silver medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. He was a member of the Century Club, became a National Academician in 1925, serving as President from 1934 to 1939, and was also a founding member of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, which coordinated the controversial Armory Show of 1913 held in New York City. Lie exhibited with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1903 to 1940 and with the Corcoran Gallery biennials from 1907 to 1939, and in Boston, he showed with the Copley Society, the Boston Art Club and in the 1920s Vose Galleries held several successful exhibitions of his work.

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