Monday, October 10, 2016

Gerald Murphy's Precision Modernism

Gerald Clery Murphy (1888-1964) went to Yale and was a member of some of the best clubs -- DKE ("Deke") and Scull and Bones. His father owned New York's posh Mark Cross store, and Murphy himself later was its president. He and his wife Sara famously led an extravagant expatriate life in France during the 1920s.

During that time, Murphy became a serious amateur artist. Amateur, in the sense that he made few finished paintings while not having to depend on making art to earn a living. Nevertheless, his carefully structured, hard-edge, modernist-inspired works were nearly all of very high quality for his genre.

The Wikipedia entry about the Murphys is here, and more can be found here.

Images of most of Murphy's paintings are below. Some are lost or destroyed, so only black-and-white photos of them remain. I consider "Boatdeck," "Razor," and "Watch" to be his best.


Turbines - 1922 (lost)

Boatdeck - 1923 (lost)

Boatdeck as displayed at the Salon des Independents - 1924

Razor - 1924

Watch -1925

Bibliotheque - 1926-27

Cocktail - 1927

Portrait - 1928 (lost)

Wasp and Pear - 1929

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