"Black Cat - San Juan Capistrano" By Emily Muir (1904-2003)
ca. late 1930's
Watercolor, 24 1/2 " x 18 1/2 "
Signed lower leftframed
Emily Lansingh Muir was born in Chicago in 1904, attended Vassar College and studied painting with Richard Lahey at the Art Students League in New York. Her painting style has been compared to that of Marguerite Zorach, Marsden Hartley and Walt Kuhn, painters who, like Muir, found inspiration in the coastal villages and landscapes of Maine.
Muir first visited Maine as a child when she summered on Deer Isle with her parents. She married sculptor William Muir, and they moved to Stonington in 1939. She built a substantial career for herself as a painter and a designer of houses. While not trained as an architect, Mrs. Muir has designed and built forty homes on Deer Isle, which are much admired for their elegant simplicity, minimal environmental impact, their use of natural and local materials and their careful siting on the spruce-clad shores of the island.
Muir was the first woman to serve on President Dwight D. Eisenhower's National Commission of Fine Arts, and later President Richard Nixon appointed her to the Advisory Committee for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Muir's paintings are included in public and private collections and include works in the Brooklyn Museum, the Portland Museum of Art, the Univeristy of Maine, and the Farnsworth Art Museum.
She also wrote an charming autobiography called "The Time of My Life". Her descriptions of her early years at The Arts Students League, where she met her husband, and their struggles as starving artists during the Depression are particularly poignant. it was also the title of her retrospective at The Farnswoth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine from April to August 2002. Copies of the book are available at The Liros gallery for $19.95.