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 Catherine E. Murphy  (1946 - )

About: Catherine E. Murphy
 

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Lived/Active: New York/Massachusetts      Known for: city scenes, figure, self portrait, still life and interior painting, lithographs

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Ad Code: 3
Catherine E Murphy
from Auction House Records.
Elena, Harry and Alan
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Catherine Murphy, a realist painter of city scenes, lower-middle-class figures, self-portraits, still-lifes and interiors, was born in Lexington, Massachusetts in 1946.  Whether lithographs* or oil paintings, Murphy creates a solidly realistic and moodily expressive views of herself and environment, often with windows looking out on some aspect of the urban or natural world.

Her father was an Irish musician, whose paying job was as a postal worker. She received her B.F.A. degree in 1967 from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, where her most influential teachers were Eugene Berman and Stephen Pace.  They taught her to work painstakingly on her paintings, follow her own inclination, which was realism* at a time when abstraction* was dominant, and look for inspiration to the Old Masters*, especially Leonardo da Vinci, Jan Vermeer and Jan Van Eyck.  She also studied for a summer at the Skowhegan* School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine with California painter Elmer Bischoff.

A turning point for Murphy was having her talents appreciated and promoted by June Blum, a prominent feminist* artist, who discovered Murphy's work in 1971. Blum exhibited Murphy's paintings on Long Island, and New York Times art critic, John Canaday, wrote the following on September 19, 1971, which began widespread public recognition:

"Miss Murphy's picture of her mother napping in a corner of a garden is as fine a portrait as I have seen for a long time, going far beyond mere likeness and, for that matter, beyond the suggestion of character to fuse both within an evocation of mood and place". (Rubinstein 394)

Murray married sculptor Harry Roseman when they were students at Pratt Institute, and working together, they lived in Hoboken and Jersey City because they could not afford housing in New York City.  Urban life of these New Jersey cities provided much subject matter for Murphy, and from this vantage point, she also painted distant views of New York, such as View of World Trade Center From a Rose Garden (1976).

Following this time, Murphy and her husband moved to her hometown of Lexington and then to upstate New York.

She was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1979, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1982.  Exhibition venues include Fourcade Droll Gallery in New York City; the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Whitney Museum of American Art, and American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York City.

Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Phillips Collection, and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Newark Museum, and New Jersey Art Museum, Trenton; University of North Carolina, Greensboro; and the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, among others.

Sources:
Jules and Nancy Heller, North American Women Artists of the 20th Century
Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein, American Women Artists

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx



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