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 Hal Alexander Courtney Morrison  (1848 - 1927)

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Lived/Active: Georgia/Florida / Canada      Known for: trompe l'oeil fish and game paintings

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
"Nature Morte: Largemouth Bass"
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
HAL MORRISON (1848-1927)

Born in Canada on Prince Edward Island, Hal Morrison graduated from Harvard Medical School. He spent two years as a physician with the Intercolonial Railroad, before "abandoning that profession entirely to rove over the whole world and paint what pleased me." The following seven years included travel and study in Europe until, by 1882, Morrison had moved to Bainbridge, Georgia for health reasons. According to the Atlanta Constitution newspaper, dated March 26, 1883, he then resettled in Atlanta "to open a studio and teach students in oil and water colors." Morrison steadily developed his career as a respected artist and teacher, earning a reputation that extended far beyond the South. He became best known for his still lifes of flowers, fruit, fish, and game, as well as Southern genre scenes, as seen in this example.

An avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing, Morrison was skilled at taxidermy, collecting and preparing specimens for his paintings. An 1889 Constitution article praised his still life paintings in the Piedmont Exposition that year: " It is not art, but nature in superb perfection. In a study of two wild ducks hung against a barn door, he seemed to have reached the height of his art, and the realistic effect of some fish hung against a rusty hinged barn door is simply wonderful. Another exquisite fish study shows a red snapper and some trout lying against a game bag beside the waters of a tropical stream." Morrison often traveled to work in Florida during the winter seasons and to North Carolina or his native Canada for the summers, producing numerous still life and landscape paintings from these excursions.

This essay is copyrighted by the Charleston Renaissance Gallery and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from Hicklin Galleries, LLC.

Biography from Knoke Fine Arts:
Hal Morrison was born in Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1848.  He was active in Atlanta, Ga., between 1883 and 1918 and then in Auburndale, Florida, from 1918 to 1926.  He died in Atlanta in 1927.

His favorite activities were painting and fishing.  He was most known for his paintings of fish and game in the manner of William Michael Harnett.

He graduated from Harvard School of Medicine and worked for two years on the medical staff of the Intercolonial Railroad.  He spent the next 7 years traveling and studying art.

Then he moved to Atlanta and made many trips to Florida and North Carolina, occasionally returning to Canada.  He exhibited extensively and taught art in his Atlanta studio.  Though he sold large numbers of paintings in the Atlanta area, his works are rare and hard to come by.

Biography from The Johnson Collection:
Hal Morrison was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1852. As a young man he attended Harvard Medical School and spent two years working as a member of the medical staff on the Intercolonial Railroad. The job afforded him plenty of spare time and he remembered, "I did nothing but paint and fish, and finally abandoned my profession entirely to rove over the whole world and paint what pleased me." For the next seven years Morrison traveled across Europe and studied art in Paris. He was also an avid hunter and fisherman and became "something of a taxidermist", collecting specimens of fish and wild game which he used as models.

In the early 1880s Morrison moved to Atlanta, Georgia to open a teaching studio. He offered students lessons in oils and in watercolors, and he was best known for his still-life paintings of flowers, fruit and game. Morrison painted in a highly detailed, and traditional manner and his paintings were admired for their photographic realism. Although he was not native to Atlanta, he was very loyal to his adopted city and settled comfortably into a social circle of Southern artists and writers. From Atlanta, Morrison exhibited and sold his work across the country and the world.

In 1889 he exhibited at the Piedmont Exposition and received rave reviews. In 1890 the Dunlap Coal and Iron Company in Tennessee commissioned him to complete two paintings for which he received "the commendation for his work". Over the next decade his reputation steadily grew and he showed his work at a number of expositions. As Morrison's career as an artist progressed he was able to find time to pursue his other passion, the outdoors. He vacationed in the mountains of North Carolina and in the marshlands of Florida. Inspiration for many of his wildlife studies came from these hunting and fishing trips. By the late 1890s he was spending the winter months in Florida, both for his health and for inspiration.

Hal Morrison lived in Atlanta until 1918 when his wife passed away. Shortly afterward he remarried and moved to Florida, only to return to the Atlanta area in 1927 because of an illness that required hospitalization. He died in the Davis-Fischer sanatorium in September of 1927.

The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina

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