Biografie von Morris Cole GRAVES (1910-2001)

Birth place: Fox Valley, OR

Death place: Loleta, CA

Addresses: Seattle, WA

Profession: Painter, printmaker

Studied: mostly self-taught, and briefly with B. Burroughs, Mark Tobey

Exhibited: Pacific Coast Art Expo, 1933 (award); SAM, 1933-35, 1936 (first solo); PAFA, 1934, 1945-46, 1953-60; WFNY, 1939; MoMA, 1942; Willard Art Gal., 1942-71, 1972 (solo); Detroit AI, 1943 (solo); LACMA, 1948 (solo); CPLH, 1948; AIC, 1948 ( Blair Prize, solo); WMAA, 1956; Corcoran Gal., 1953, 1957; Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, 1984. Awards: Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, 1946; Windsor Award, Duke & Duchess of Windsor, 1957.

Member: AWCS (hon. member); Group of Twelve

Work: MoMA; WMAA; MMA; Albright-Knox Art Gal., Buffalo, NY; AIC; CAM; CMA; Detroit IA; SAM; CPLH; Phillips Mem. Gal.

Comments: An important artist of the Pacific Northwest school whose work is highly symbolic and shows the influence of Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and other Eastern philosophies. Graves' first exposure to Eastern culture occurred between 1928-30, when he made three trips as a seaman aboard mail ships. Living in Seattle in the 1930s, he was employed by the WPA, later working for the Seattle Art Mus., where he studied the museum's Asian art collection. Throughout his career, Graves' favorite subject matter has been birds, animals, and trees, and he has often painted in series, including Joyous Young Pine (1943), Hibernating Animal (1954), and Ant War and Insect (1958). Although he started out as an oil painter, his preferred media became tempera, watercolor, gouache and ink, and he often executed his work in a technique similar to Oriental scroll painting. He traveled widely, visiting Hawaii in 1946 (on a a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1946 that was originally intended for study in Japan); later spending a winter painting the Cathedral at Chartres, France (he subsequently destroyed everthing he painted there); and visiting Japan again in his later years.

Sources: WW73; Duncan Phillips, article, Magazine Art (Dec, 1947); Frederick Wight, Morris Graves (Univ. Calif. Press, 1956); Katherine Kuh, The Artist's Voice (Harper & Rowe, 1960); WW40. More recently, see Baigell, Dictionary;Trip and Cook, Washington State Art and Artists; 300 Years of American Art, 935; Falk, Exh. Record Series; obituaries, New York Times, May 18, 2001.

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