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Claus Hoie was born in Stavanger, Norway, November 3, 1911. He lived for a few years in Oslo before emigrating to the United States at the age of thirteen, when he settled in Brooklyn, NY.


He spent time at sea (two years), a heritage from his grandfather and father who were both ship’s captains. During World War II, Hoie served four years in the Army as a Sergeant in a special Norwegian-American battalion of the mountain infantry (99th Infantry Battalion), whose mission was to assist in the liberation of Norway. His Battalion also landed on Normandy Beach five days after D-Day.

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Claus Hoie, watercolor rendering of soldier from the 99th Infantry Batalion during World War II

After the war, he studied art at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Claus also attended Pratt Institute, and at the Art Students League in New York. Hoie worked as an independent artist creating primarily watercolor works and graphics However, also was a commercial artist.

In the 1950s he met the young artist and fashion designer, Helen Hunt Bencker and in 1957 they wed. Helen Hoie, went on to have a successful career as an artist in her own right. The two lived out their days on the East End of Long Island. Creating artwork, singing duets together, and living their lives to their fullest together and with their friends.

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Claus Hoie, Portrait of an Artist, watercolor on paper, 1985, 24 x 17 ½

Claus Hoie has exhibited his watercolors and graphics at the American Watercolor Society between 1960 and 1994; Brooklyn Museum Watercolor Biennial, 1963; Museum of Watercolor Painting, Mexico City, Mexico, 1968 and 1989; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Annual, 1969; and the Childe Hassam Award Exhibition, National Institute of Arts and Letters, 1973.


He has had numerous one-man shows in places such as the Norwegian-American Museum, Decorah, IA, 1976; Akershus Castle Museum in Oslo, Norway, 1982; South Street Seaport Museum, NY, 1992, Mystic Seaport Museum, 1994 and 1998; and, the Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle, 1998.

Hoie has also been the author of several articles about his work. He has written and illustrated a book, Whaler Helena of Sag Harbor in the South Pacific, 1843-1845 (1994). In addition, he provided some text and illustrations for a booklet entitled, "The Viking Battalion" by Audrey Wendland published in 1998.

He received numerous awards for his work including prizes awarded in 1985 and 1988 from the National Academy of Design, honors and medals from the American Watercolor Society spanning the years 1955 through 1988, an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1975, and an award from the Audubon Artists Annual Exhibition in 1990. He also received the Marine Environmental Wildlife Award from the Mystic Seaport Museum in 1998.

Hoie’s paintings and graphics are in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Oklahoma Museum of Art, National Academy of Design, Norwegian-American Museum, University of Minnesota, and Brigham Young University. The works he exhibited at the Norwegian-American Museum eventually were acquired by Akershus Museum in Oslo, Norway. These watercolors focused on the training of mountain troops for the U.S. Army Special Forces unit of which he was a member during World War II.

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