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