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 Elizabeth Murray  (1940 - 2007)

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Lived/Active: New York/Illinois      Known for: biomorphic imagery, abstract humor, collage, graphics

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Ad Code: 2
Elizabeth Heaphy Murray
from Auction House Records.
Long Arm
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Elizabeth Murray was born in Chicago in 1940 and grew up in small towns in Michigan and Illinois, settling in Bloomington, Illinois.  Going to school was very difficult for her, particularly high school; her high-school art teacher became involved in her work and created a scholarship for her at the Art Institute of Chicago.  She had intended to go into commercial art, but as she walked through the museum every day on her way to classes, she became more aware of the possibilities for her in painting. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1962, and went to graduate school at Mills College, getting her Master of Fine Arts degree in 1964.  While she was at Mills she became close friends with Jennifer Bartlett.

She married a sculptor, and they moved to Buffalo, New York where they lived for two years; she taught at a Catholic women's college.  In 1967 they moved to New York City, and she gave birth to a son.  Murray paid her dues through some very lean years without ever giving up.  She worked in bookstores and waited on tables. She taught in such schools as Yale, Princeton and Bard, and gave painting criticism to graduate students at the School of Visual Arts in New York, as well as several other schools.

Murray and her husband broke up, and she moved for a time to California where she taught at the California Institute of the Arts.  It was there that she began painting her "shattered" paintings.  She has created some of the most imaginative conglomerate canvases of the 20th century.  She married Bob Holman; they had a daughter named Sophie.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
"Elizabeth Murray Shapes Up" by Paul Gardner in ARTnews, September 1984
From the internet,
Peter Plagens in Newsweek Magazine, April 17, 1989

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Known for her abstract paintings, many of them on shaped canvases, Elizabeth Murray has also held numerous distinguished teaching positions.

She was born in Chicago and attended The Art Institute of Chicago where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in 1962. She then attended Mills College, Oakland, California and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1964.

Her teaching positions include instructor at Rosary Hill College in Buffalo, New York; Visiting Artist at Wayne State University, Detroit; Visiting Instructor at The Art Institute of Chicago; Instructor, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; Visiting Instructor, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA; Lecturer, Princeton University, New Jersey; Instructor, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; and Instructor at the School of Visual Arts, New York.

She received the Walter M. Campana Award at The Art Institute of Chicago and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Medal for Painting.

Who's Who in American Art, 2003-2004, 25th Edition

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Elizabeth Murray is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
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