Jonas Lie

(American born Norway, 1880 - 1940)

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