Elizabeth Murray

Nationality : American

Birth Year : 1940

Death Year : 2007

Place of Birth : Chicago, United States of America

Place of Death : New York, United States of America

Specialities : Modern Art

Biography

Occupation: Painter
Movement: Modernist Abstraction
Education: School of the Arts Institute of Chicago
Famous Artworks
“Beginner,” 1976
“New York Dawn,” 1977
“Children Meeting,” 1978
“Small Town,” 1980
“Sleep,” 1983-84
“Lost Hat,” 1985
“War and Peace,” 1987
“Wiggle Manhattan,” 1992
Elizabeth Murray was an American painter and printmaker, best known for her contribution to the Neo-Expressionist movement of the 1970s. Her buoyant imagery and rejection of the rectangle as the only format for painting helped energize the medium in the years succeeding the Pop Art movement. 
Early Life
Born in Chicago in the autumn of 1940, Elizabeth Murray developed an inclination towards visual art at a young age. Upon graduating from high school in 1958, she was accepted into the Department of Painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from there in 1962. She subsequently traveled to San Francisco to pursue a master’s degree at Mills College. During her years at university, Murray was particularly impressed by the art of Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg and Robert Rauschenberg, though the aesthetic influence of older Modernists like Cezanne is apparent in much of her student work. After completing her formal training in 1964, she remained in California for three years before moving to New York City, drawn to the energy and experimental scope of its art scene. 
Career
Upon her arrival in New York in the late 1960s, she discovered the extent and variety of Minimalist compositions and process work for the first time. Intrigued by her own bewilderment to the simplicity of Richard Serra and Brice Marden’s nouveau abstraction, she began experimenting with similar concepts within her own medium. It was a difficult period for the young artist, who was recently married and pregnant, and the climate of competition amongst her peers was intimidating. Confused about her individual vision and the direction of her work, she destroyed the majority of her canvases out of embarrassment over her creative struggles. Although she participated at the Whitney Annual Exhibition in 1971, it was not until 1978 that she developed the confidence required to truly engage with the art establishment and promote her fledgling projects. “Children Meeting,” completed in 1978, was a breakthrough in her professional career and received positive critique upon its debut for its depiction of personalities and pure emotion through non-representational line and shape. 
Over the next decade, Murray began using shaped canvases to correspond with the subject matter of her compositions, creating an optical effect that seemed to eliminate the exterior edges of the work. In addition, she experimented with multiple canvases to produce a large-scale image, as in 1981’s “Painter’s Progress,” which consists of 19 individual parts. In 1998, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received a MacArthur Fellowship the following year. The grant provided her with the opportunity to open the Bowery Poetry Club, a performance art venue on the Lower East Side, with husband Bob Holman in 2002. 
Later Years
In the mid-noughties, a major retrospective of Murray’s career was organized by the Museum of Modern Art, making her the fifth woman to receive the honor since its inception in 1929. She passed away of lung cancer the following year, in 2007. She was survived by her husband and their three children. 
Timeline
1940  -  Born in Chicago
1958  -  Enrolls at the School of the Art Institute
1964  -  Graduates from Mills College with an MA
1967  -  Moves to New York
1971  -  Participates at the Whitney Annual Exhibition
1986  -  Awarded the Skowhegan Medal for Painting
1992  -  Receives an honorary doctorate from the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago
1998  -  Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1999  -  Receives the MacArthur Fellowship; establishes the Bowery Poetry Club
2006  -  Honored with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art
2007  -  Passes away of lung cancer
Major Exhibitions
1975  -  Jared Sable Gallery, Toronto
1976  -  Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
1998  -  John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco
2001  -  Texas Gallery, Houston
2005  -  Museum of Modern Art, New York
2009  -  Arts Club of Chicago
2009  -  Rosenbaum Contemporary, Boca Raton
Museums/Collections
Art Institute of Chicago
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Museum of Modern Art, New York
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.
Books/Publications
“Elizabeth Murray” by Robert Storr
“Painterly Photography: Awakening the Artist Within” by Elizabeth Murray

See More Lots FOR FREE
at Blouin Art Sales Index
ART PRICES

LOT SOLD (1991 - 2009)

148

MAX PRICE

$115,000

AVG PRICE

$42,929

TOTAL SALES (1991 - 2009)

$1,073,225

 Untitled (Mostly Mozart Festival), 1979 by Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray

Untitled (Mostly Mozart Festival), 1979

Bonhams, Los Angeles

December 14, 2015

 USD

 Blue body by Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray

Blue body

Stair Auctioneers & Appraisers, Hudson

December 4, 2015

$1,500  USD

 Untitled by Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray

Untitled

Swann Galleries, New York

November 12, 2015

$812  USD

 Early Light by Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray

Early Light

Christie's, New York

November 11, 2015

$40,000  USD

 Shoes by Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray

Shoes

Christie's, New York

November 11, 2015

$10,625  USD

 Untitled (Mostly Mozart Festival) by Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray

Untitled (Mostly Mozart Festival)

Bonhams, San Francisco

October 20, 2015

 USD

 The Clock by Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray

The Clock

Auctionata, New York

September 24, 2015

 USD

 Untitled from Doctor's of the World by Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray

Untitled from Doctor's of the World

RoGallery.com, New York

July 21, 2015

 USD

 Flying off by Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray

Flying off

Clars Auction Gallery, Oakland

June 27, 2015

$375  USD

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