Mari Lyons (1935-2016)

Photo courtesy of Mari Lyons.

Mari Lyons is passionate about her art. Throughout the years she has traveled extensively and has trained with some of the most significant twentieth-century artists, including the expressionist Max Beckmann (1884–1950) at Mills College in California, the great printmaker Stanley William Hayter (1901–1988) at Atelier 17 in Paris, and the abstract landscape artist Fred Mitchell (b. 1923) at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Her primary medium is oil on canvas, but she does work with pastel, watercolor, and ink. Jed Perl of the New Republic described Lyons “as the complete painter, the master of every genre: still life, interior, portrait, figures, landscape, and cityscape” (“Private Lives,” The New Republic [24 December 2008, vol. 239, no. 11, 27],

Lyons’s ability to elicit emotion through her art has led to a fulfilling career. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of the City of New York and Rider University, and 120 private and corporate collections include at least one work by Lyons. She has had fourteen one-person shows at the First Street Gallery in New York City and countless other one-person, two-person, and group shows in New York and Michigan.

Always ready for an opportunity to sketch, years ago Lyons accompanied her writer-publisher husband, Nick Lyons, and his friend, Herb Wellington, when they went fly fishing in Montana. The landscape, the movements, and the anglers inspired Lyons to create a series of watercolors and drawings to capture the outings. These works were not intended to be illustrations but were eventually featured in some well-loved angling books written by her husband, including Spring Creek, A Flyfisher’s World, Full Creel: A Nick Lyons Reader, and My Secret Fishing Life. Through Lyons’s eye, the grace and beauty of fly fishing is immortalized.

Lyons lives in New York City and Woodstock, New York, and continues to interpret, re-create, and present her surroundings with brush and canvas.


Note: this text was written in 2011. Mari Lyons passed away on April 3, 2016.