Len Lye


Leonard Charles Huia Lye (; 5 July 1901 – 15 May 1980) was a New Zealand artist known primarily for his experimental films and kinetic sculpture. His films are held in archives including the New Zealand Film Archive, British Film Institute, Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and the Pacific Film Archive at University of California, Berkeley. Lye's sculptures are found in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the Berkeley Art Museum. Although he became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1950, much of his work went to New Zealand after his death, where it is housed at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth. He is best remembered for his 1933 short film "experimental Animation 1933," better known as "The Peanut Vendor."

Wikidata identifier


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Lye was born in New Zealand, but moved to Australia, Samoa, and England, where he remained from 1926-1944. He pioneered the development of "direct" filmmaking: creating motion pictures by drawing, painting, and scratching directly on film. He made 24 films using various methods, many without use of a camera. He relocated to New York in 1944 and continued filmmaking until 1958, when he began constructing kinetic sculptures.

Country of birth

New Zealand


Artist, cinematographer, painter, poet, sculptor, writer

ULAN identifier



Len Lye, Leonard Charles Huai, Leonard Charles Huia Lye

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Information from the Getty Research Institute's Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License. Accessed May 13, 2024.