Elizabeth Murray (American, 2007)

Elizabeth Murray (American, 1940–2007) is a Neo-Expressionist painter particularly known for her unconventionally-shaped canvases, and significant role in revitalizing painting during an era dominated by Conceptual Art. Born in Chicago, Murray spent much of her childhood sketching and drawing. In 1958, she entered the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to become a commercial artist, but her fascination with the Institute’s The Plate of Apples (1877) by Paul Cézanne (French, 1839-1906) inspired her to pursue painting instead. She went on to receive a MFA from Mills College in California in 1964. In the Post-Modern fashion, Murray’s work rejected Minimalism and attempted to revive concepts of narrative and identity in art. Children Meeting (1978) reflects her ability to convey meaning through geometric and biomorphic forms, an idea also manifested through her use of irregularly-shaped canvases. During the 1980s, she experimented even further by utilizing multiple, adjoining, or overlapping canvases in pieces such as Painters’ Progress (1981). In the late 1980s and 1990s, Murray received a number of awards for her work, including the Skowhegan Medal in Painting in 1986 and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award in 1999. In the 1990s and 2000s, Murray designed large-scale mosaic murals for the subway stations at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan, and the 23rd Street-Ely Avenue station in Queens. MoMA also honored her in 2006 with a retrospective spanning her 40 year career, a distinction given only to three other women artists: Louise Bourgeois (American/French, 1911–2010) in 1982, Lee Krasner (American, 1908–1984) in 1984, and Helen Frankenthaler (American, 1928–2011) in 1989. Her paintings today hang in many important American museums, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, MoMA, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Timeline

1940
Born in Chicago, IL
1958–1962
BFA, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1962–1964
MFA, Mills College, Oakland, CA
1986
Skowhegan Medal for Painting, Skowhegan, ME
1992
Recipient, Honorary Doctorate, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Inducted as a member of the American Institute of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
1993
Recipient, Honorary Degree, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI
Recipient, Larry Aldrich Prize in Contemporary Art
2001
Recipient, Honorary Doctorate, New School University, New York, NY
2002
Recipient, National Artist Award, Anderson Rand Art Center, Snowmass Village, CO
2007
Died in Washington County, NY

Exhibitions

2009
Elizabeth Murray, Rosenbaum Contemporary, Boca Raton, FL (solo)
Elizabeth Murray, Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL (solo)
2008
Elizabeth Murray, University Art Gallery, Staller Center for the Arts, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY (solo)
2006
Elizabeth Murray: Paintings 2003–2006, PaceWildenstein, New York, NY (solo)
Elizabeth Murray: Sweetzer Suite, Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl, New York, NY (solo)
2005–2006
Elizabeth Murray, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (solo)
2004
Elizabeth Murray, Susanne Hilberry Gallery, Ferndale, MI (solo)
2003
Elizabeth Murray Paintings 1999-2003, PaceWildenstein, New York, NY (solo)
2002
Elizabeth Murray Paintings and Works on Paper, Jaffe-Friede & Strauss Galleries, Hopkins Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (solo)
Elizabeth Murray: Paintings and Works on Paper, Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, CO (solo)
Elizabeth Murray: Watercolors, PaceWildenstein, New York, NY (solo)
2001
Elizabeth Murray, Texas Gallery, Houston, TX (solo)
2000
Elizabeth Murray Paintings, Susanne Hilberry Gallery, Birmingham, MI (solo)
1999
Elizabeth Murray: works on paper, Jan Weiner Gallery, Kansas City, MO (solo)
Elizabeth Murray: New Paintings, PaceWildenstein, New York, NY (solo)
1998
Elizabeth Murray: Recent Paintings and Works on Paper, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA (solo)
Elizabeth Murray: Works on Paper, Anderson Gallery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (solo)
1976
Elizabeth Murray: Recent Paintings. Paula Cooper Gallery. New York, NY (solo)
1975
Jared Sable Gallery. Toronto, Canada (solo)

Public Collections

Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA
Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY