Emily Muir (1904–2003)

Biography Press Publications
EMILY MUIR
Arizona I
pastel on paper, signed lower right
9 x 11 inches
$1400
EMILY MUIR
Red Cliffs, New Mexico
signed lower right
pastel on paper, 9 x 11 inches
$650
EMILY MUIR
New Mexico '62
signed lower left
pastel on paper, 9 x 11 inches
$850
EMILY MUIR
Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico
pastel on paper, 9 x 12 inches
SOLD
EMILY MUIR
Mesa II
signed lower right
watercolor, 16 x 23 inches
$1600
EMILY MUIR
Arizona II
signed lower right
pastel on paper, 9 x 11 inches
$650
EMILY MUIR
A Mesa
pastel on paper, 9 x 11 inches
$750
EMILY MUIR
New Mexico '68
signed and dated lower right
pastel on paper, 11 x 14 inches
$650
EMILY MUIR
Grand Canyon
oil on board, 24 x 48 inches
SOLD
EMILY MUIR
New Mex. ’68
signed lower right, 1968
pastel on paper, 16 x 19 inches
$650
EMILY MUIR
Organ Mountains, New Mexico
signed lower right, 1968
pastel on paper, 11 x 14 inches
$500
EMILY MUIR
Arid Fields and Mountains
watercolor, 15 x 21
$850
EMILY MUIR
Yellowstone Park
signed lower right
pastel on paper, 9 x 11 inches
$500
EMILY MUIR
Farm with Water Tank
pastel on paper, 11 x 14 inches
$650
EMILY MUIR
Big Sky Cattle
oil on board, 25 x 50 inches
SOLD
EMILY MUIR
Waterfall
oil on canvas, 18 x 25 inches
$2200
MILY MUIR
Mountain River
oil on canvas, 25 x 38 inches
$3400
EMILY MUIR
West Indies
pastel on paper, signed, 9 x 11 inches
$500
EMILY MUIR
Farms and Cattle
pastel on paper, signed
9 x 11 inches
$425
EMILY MUIR
West Virginia
pastel on paper, signed, 9 x 11 inches
$950
EMILY MUIR
Big Farm
signed lower left
pastel on paper, 9 x 11 inches
$650
EMILY MUIR
Castle
pastel on paper, 9 x 12 inches
$650
EMILY MUIR
Field with Palms
pastel on paper, 9 x 12 inches
$500
EMILY MUIR
Strange Trees
oil on canvas, 21 x 30 inches
$
EMILY MUIR
Three Owls
oil on canvas, 17 x 24 inches
$2800
EMILY MUIR
Lady at her Dresser
oil on canvas, 14 x 20 inches
$950
EMILY MUIR
Crashing Waves
oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches
$1400
EMILY MUIR
Marsh and Sea
oil on canvas, 16 x 24 inches
$1200
EMILY MUIR
Cattails
oil on canvas, 18 x 22 inches
1200
EMILY MUIR
Stark Apple Trees
oil on canvas, 18 x 22 inches
$2400
EMILY MUIR
Bare Birches
oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches
$2200
EMILY MUIR
Winter Barn with Silo
oil on canvas, 17 x 24 inches
$2200
EMILY MUIR
Orchard Abloom
oil on masonite, 19 x 39 inches
$3800
EMILY MUIR Arizona I pastel on paper, signed lower right 9 x 11 inches $1400
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Red Cliffs, New Mexico signed lower right pastel on paper, 9 x 11 inches $650
Inquire
EMILY MUIR New Mexico '62 signed lower left pastel on paper, 9 x 11 inches $850
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico pastel on paper, 9 x 12 inches SOLD
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Mesa II signed lower right watercolor, 16 x 23 inches $1600
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Arizona II signed lower right pastel on paper, 9 x 11 inches $650
Inquire
EMILY MUIR A Mesa pastel on paper, 9 x 11 inches $750
Inquire
EMILY MUIR New Mexico '68 signed and dated lower right pastel on paper, 11 x 14 inches $650
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Grand Canyon oil on board, 24 x 48 inches SOLD
Inquire
EMILY MUIR New Mex. ’68 signed lower right, 1968 pastel on paper, 16 x 19 inches $650
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Organ Mountains, New Mexico signed lower right, 1968 pastel on paper, 11 x 14 inches $500
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Arid Fields and Mountains watercolor, 15 x 21 $850
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Yellowstone Park signed lower right pastel on paper, 9 x 11 inches $500
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Farm with Water Tank pastel on paper, 11 x 14 inches $650
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Big Sky Cattle oil on board, 25 x 50 inches SOLD
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Waterfall oil on canvas, 18 x 25 inches $2200
Inquire
MILY MUIR Mountain River oil on canvas, 25 x 38 inches $3400
Inquire
EMILY MUIR West Indies pastel on paper, signed, 9 x 11 inches $500
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Farms and Cattle pastel on paper, signed 9 x 11 inches $425
Inquire
EMILY MUIR West Virginia pastel on paper, signed, 9 x 11 inches $950
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Big Farm signed lower left pastel on paper, 9 x 11 inches $650
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Castle pastel on paper, 9 x 12 inches $650
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Field with Palms pastel on paper, 9 x 12 inches $500
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Strange Trees oil on canvas, 21 x 30 inches $
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Three Owls oil on canvas, 17 x 24 inches $2800
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Lady at her Dresser oil on canvas, 14 x 20 inches $950
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Crashing Waves oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches $1400
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Marsh and Sea oil on canvas, 16 x 24 inches $1200
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Cattails oil on canvas, 18 x 22 inches 1200
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Stark Apple Trees oil on canvas, 18 x 22 inches $2400
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Bare Birches oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches $2200
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Winter Barn with Silo oil on canvas, 17 x 24 inches $2200
Inquire
EMILY MUIR Orchard Abloom oil on masonite, 19 x 39 inches $3800
Inquire
 

Emily Muir (1904–2003) Biography

Emily Muir (1904–2003) was an American painter, architect, conservationist, and philanthropist, who spent most of her long life in Stonington, Maine. Here Emily and her husband William Muir, a nationally known sculptor, dedicated their lives to making art.

Emily explored many styles and materials, and created her own fascinating hybrid of style. She had her own take on cubism, for instance, where space, light, and color are employed to present faceted scenes of lobstermen and their boats, and the seas upon which they toil. In addition to scenes from her adopted home state, for which she was best known, Emily painted portraits, florals, musicians, and the people and landscapes from her many travels. Emily also published two books, Small Potatoes (1940) and The Time of My Life (2002), her autobiography. Her work is in numerous private and public collections, including the , the Brooklyn Museum of Fine Art, the Farnsworth Art Museum, and the Portland Museum of Art.

Although Bill’s primary focus was sculpture, he was also an accomplished painter. During their many travels, Emily and Bill often painted the same scene, and to see these paintings side-by-side is quite remarkable. Remaining in the Muir estate are outstanding oil paintings and pastels by Emily and Bill of Trinidad and the West Indies, South America, Europe, and the United States.

Emily Muir was born in Chicago in 1904, and by her first birthday the family relocated to New York, her father’s home state. Emily studied art in high school and after attending Vassar College for one year, she entered the Art Students League in New York City, where she studied with Richard Lahey and Leo Lentelli. Lahey became a major influence, she noted, because he pushed her to paint with feeling—to paint what she felt—not so much what she saw. But her life-long inspiration was her future husband, William Muir, whom she met at the League where he was working as a sculpture class monitor. She said it all came naturally to Bill: “With him it is no theory, it is a response to life.”

Emily married Bill in 1928, and the couple often worked together. To help pay the bills, Emily began her career as a portraitist, which she had studied at the League (Isamu Noguchi was in her class). During the Depression, the Muirs became successful commercial artists and traveled throughout Europe and Latin America designing dioramas for the Moore-McCormick steamship line, a cruise line company. As she wrote in her autobiography, “With luck, love, and ingenuity, we survived The Great Depression.”

Her parents bought 85 acres of land on Deer Isle, Maine, and asked Emily to design them a home. Without any official training in architecture, she designed Mainstay, which was built by Pop Joyce, a local builder. Emily and Bill liked the area, and in 1939 they settled down year-round in Stonington, Maine, where they built a home and studio in the 1940s. Here Emily painted, and created ceramics and mosaics. Although landscapes and seascapes predominated, Emily continued paintings portraits, and over the years many people came under her spell as subjects, friends, and collectors of her artwork.

Outside the studio, Emily was the first woman to serve on President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s National Commission of Fine Arts, a precursor to today’s National Endowment for the Arts, and later President Richard Nixon appointed her to the advisory committee for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Emily was appointed to the Commission in 1955 by Senator Margaret Chase Smith, whose official portrait Emily had painted for the Maine State House. Muir was actually one of the first—if not the first—to suggest that a percentage of the cost of any new government building be set aside for art to enrich the building. Today that program is called The Percent for Art Program, which eventually caught on nationwide.

Muir served on the Commission’s board through 1959, while simultaneously serving as a trustee at the Portland Museum of Fine Art. That same year, her husband, who was a trustee of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, suggested the school move to the Stonington area. At the time Haystack was located in Lincoln, Maine, and had no permanent home. Emily helped Haystack locate a property and to reestablish the school in Deer Isle. While searching for the property, she discovered a lot near Stonington on Crockett Cove, which she purchased and built a house on, launching a second career in architecture. A self-taught architect, Emily ambitiously designed 45 legendary cottages in and around Crockett Cove. She focused on building modern structures that incorporated the landscape, rather than the dwelling. Her sensitivity to environmental concerns were recognized by an award from Design International, and she was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Maine in 1969.

Emily cared deeply about the environment. She owned three islands in Maine, and when a friend asked her what she planned to do with them, Emily decided to preserve the islands by donating them to The Nature Conservancy. In 1970, she sold Russ Island to the Island Institute at a discounted the price. In 1975, she donated nearly 100 acres of woods to the Conservancy, now known as the Crocket Cove Woods Preserve, and she donated Wreck Island to the Conservancy, which subsequently deeded the property to the Island Heritage Trust. The Island Institute founded the Emily and William Muir Fund to develop programs to preserve the area, provide educational opportunities, and to spur community growth.

Emily Muir led a full and loving life. She and her husband William Muir left Maine with a rich legacy of art. Courthouse Gallery is pleased to continue to bring the artworks from the Muir Estate to the public and their many longtime collectors.

 

Press

September 2009
Bangor Daily News

Keepers of the Legacy

Ellsworth gallery owners embrace a chance to manage the estate of William and Emily Muir, prolific artists whose substantial contributons continue to impress Last Christmas, Karin Wilkes’ husband, Michael, gave her a present that made her smile. It was an autobiography of artist Emily Muir, who together with her husband and fellow artist William Muir […]

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Publications

 

Exhibition Catalog 2009
Emily & Bill: The Muir Estate
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$18 postage paid in US
Exhibition Catalog 2010
Emily Paints the West Indies
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$18 postage paid in US