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 George North Morris  (1915 - 1996)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: landscape-coastal view, seascape, abstraction

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George North Morris
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
This information is submitted by Margery Weaver Morris, daughter-in-law of George North Morris. Most of this information was taken from papers of his after his death.

George North Morris - painter, writer, teacher

Born May 13, 1915 in East Liberty, PA
Died Oct. 1, 1996 in Hudson, NY

Studio locations over the years: varied from Hyannis (MA), Providence (RI), Oglethorp (GA), Montpelier (VT), Yonkers & Westchester Co. (NY) to the later years in Germantown (NY).

Subject matter consisted mainly of seascapes and landscapes but in the 60's and 70's he experienced his abstract era. The later years, in fact most of his life was spent in New England and N.Y. state. Most of his more valuable paintings where along the Hudson River and Westchester County.

His most frequent methods were oils and water colors, and in the 1940' his artistic expression was through the use of clay. Most of his pottery was made from local Cape Cod (Barnstable) clay which he and his family dug, washed and prepared.

He wrote a part of the foreward, called "The Tradition", for a book "A Century and a Half of American Art 1825-1975". Published in 1975 by the "National Academy of Design". He was also an art critic and reporter for the Worcester Telegram and the Provincetown New Beacon.

He was a person that felt time was by far better spent talking about and hearing ideas and thoughts. The following are some of his.

George Morris's life was that of art and art critic as well as educator. "It was the two summers, 1938 and 1939" recalled Morris, "that I really learned how to paint".

Though much of his work showed a strong Edward Hopper influence, at the same time it took many roads. It was, over the years, much too varied to categorize. He started with collage, moved to abstraction, and then to a period during the late 1960s and '70s when he completed what he called his "Lovers Series" - erotic paintings filled with large orchestrated flat color - that show him moving away from abstraction.

Upon becoming bored with the concept of abstract painting, he looked for new challenges in pastels, acrylics and water colors, painting once again what he called "the world as it is recognizable by others".

George firmly believed that all the best artists are good hucksters, too.

In 1986 as his Grandaughter, Andrea M. Morris was about to enter art college, he gave her some of the same advice he gave his own students over his many years of teaching, "art is not taught it is caught." What he taught was the ability to look, and perhaps more precisely to perceive art in spaces, situations, and colors. He repeatedly told his students that they were in a painting class or drawing class, not an art class. Art itself is a by product of one's life.

Solo exhibitions as a painter were as follows:
Columbia-Greene Community College - 1985
Barrett House - 1985
Smith Gallery - 1980, '81, '82
Swansborough Gallery, Wellfleet - 1983
Hopper House, Nyack, NY - 1981
Hudson River Museum, Yonkers
Shepherd Gallery, NY - 1969
A.M. Sachs Gallery, NY - 1964
also Boston, Atlanta, Worcester, Provincetown, Saugerties, New York and Montpelier, VT.

Group exhibitions include:
Brooklyn Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Arts Festival, Worcester Museum,Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston), Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design, Noah Goldowsky Gallery (NY), Hopper House, Rockland Center for the Arts (West Nyack, NY), Provincetown Art Association, etc.

Honors include: MacDowell Colony Resident Fellowships - 1969, 1970, 1971
Yaddo Resident Fellowship - 1976-78
Caps Grant (NY Council on the Arts) - 1976
Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant - 1990


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