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New Jersey Remembered: A Seventy-fifth Anniversary; Philadelphia Collection 75; October 2005
 
 
painting
 
Jonas Lie
(1880–1940)
Boat Docked, Manasquan River
Watercolor on paper, 6 3/4 × 9 1/4 inches
Signed and dated at lower right: “Jonas Lie/1939”
Inscribed: (in pencil on reverse): “Manasquan River/Nov. 20th 1939”

Jonas Lie was born in Oslo, the son of a Norwegian civil engineer and an American mother. After his father died he went to Paris in 1892 to live with his uncle, the noted Norwegian novelist and poet Jonas Lie. In 1897 he joined his mother in Plainfield, New Jersey, and worked for the next nine years as a textile designer for a cotton factory. Lie took evening art classes in New York, first at the National Academy of Design and then the Art Students’ League. He was encouraged to become a professional artist when William Merritt Chase (1849–1916) purchased two of his paintings in 1899. Early in his career Lie was a realist associated with the Ashcan School who painted urban and industrial landscapes. He was deeply influenced by Claude Monet (1840–1926) after a visit to Paris in 1906 and gradually turned to Impressionism. Lie was a founding member of the American Association of Painters and Sculptors, the group that sponsored the famous Armory Show in New York in 1913 that introduced European avant-garde art to the United States. That year he went to Central America to paint the final stages of the construction of the Panama Canal.1

Lie was a prolific artist who exhibited widely and won numerous awards. He exhibited at the National Academy of Design from 1901 to 1938, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1908 to 1939, and at the Corcoran Gallery of Art biennials from 1907 to 1939. He painted numerous harbor and cove scenes in the Impressionist style, and was quite well-known during his lifetime.

Painted one year before Lie’s death in New York, this watercolor represents a view along the Manasquan River in New Jersey. Boating was a popular activity along the river, and the scene may represent the area around Brielle (incorporated in 1881), a town in Monmouth County located at the inlet where the Manasquan runs into the Atlantic Ocean. The Manasquan River Yacht Club, one of the oldest yacht clubs in the United States, is located in Brielle.


Notes

1. WWWAA, vol. 2, pp. 2022–23, and F. Newlin Price, “Jonas Lie, Painter of Light,” International Studio (Nov. 1925), pp. 104–8.



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