Connaway, Jay Hall
Heavy Seas, Morning Light, Monhegan, 1948
Oil on Board 22" x 28"
Although born in Liberty, Indiana, Jay Hall Connaway (1893-1970) was fascinated by coastal life and marine scenery, an attraction that had profound effects on his life and artwork. After periodically studying at the Art Institute of Indianapolis and at the Art Students League with William Merritt Chase, Connaway traveled throughout the United States, taking labor-intensive jobs as a railroad worker, a doryman in a fishing fleet, and a cook at a remote lumber camp. He volunteered for active duty in World War I and, after sustaining an injury, continued to help with the war effort as a cartographer and a medical draughtsman. The talent he displayed at these jobs led him to undertake further study in Paris at the Academie Julian and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Following his studies, Connaway decided to focus on painting and eventually settled on Monhegan Island, a place he and his family inhabited year-round from 1931 until 1947. His work was featured in an unprecedented 85 one-man shows, evidence of his successful and widely renowned career as a skilled sea painter.