Mural Composition

MAKER:
Artist

George L. K. Morris ( American, 1905 - 1975 )

DATE:
1939
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General Description

Through paintings such as Mural Composition and particularly through his writings in journals such as The Miscellany and Plastique (both journals he founded), George L.K. Morris promoted abstraction to the American public. He fought against the provincialism and narrow aesthetics of the American Regionalists, and pursued the eclectic impulses in his own works. Wealthy and well connected, Morris studied at the Art Students League in New York and the Académie Moderne in Paris. Morris's New York paintings frequently borrowed the playful wit of Joan Miró and Fernand Léger (one of his Parisian instructors), often combining Native American forms with the flattened spatial effects of cubism.

Reflecting the concern of numerous modern artists for projecting their work into large-scale mural compositions, Morris experimented with various ideas for wall paintings and actually executed a series at his home in Lenox, Massachusetts. In Mural Composition he achieved a compelling design which, successful on its own terms, can easily be envisioned as a much more monumental decoration. Its strong, architectural vocabulary of linear and planar elements is reminiscent of synthetic cubism, but is totally flattened and divorced from natural description.

Adapted from

  • William Keyse Rudolph, DMA label copy (1972.73), April 2005.
  • DMA curatorial remarks (1972.73), TMS digital database, n.d.
  • Steven A. Nash, Dallas Collects American Paintings: Colonial to Early Modern (exhibition catalogue, Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, 1982), 144.