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Elizabeth Murray
Study for Capri
gouache, watercolor and watercolor pen on paper (Cut-out; reads as a relief)
Image: 28 1/2 × 28 1/2 × 3 inches (72.4 × 72.4 × 7.6 cm)Framed: 30 × 30 × 2 inches (76.2 × 76.2 × 5.1 cm)
Credit Line
Kirk Varnedoe Collection, Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia, Gift of the Artist.
Accession Number
Murray is well known for her vivid, colorful and expressionistic abstract paintings that reshaped Modernist abstraction into a high-spirited, cartoon-based and comic-like language, with subjects including domestic life, relationships and the nature of painting itself. Many of Murray’s works are on shaped canvases that playfully test the boundary between sculpture and traditional two-dimensional painting. Murray’s Study for Capri is a watercolor and gouache on paper that is characteristically composed of several sheets of paper cut into different shapes, resulting in a three-dimensional piece that has a far greater presence than a simple, flat surface. The vividly colored form of this piece is pleasing and vaguely biomorphic, recalling textbook illustrations of the amoeba and other microscopic organisms.

Murray was born in Chicago in 1940. She received a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Mills College in Oakland, California. She held numerous distinguished teaching positions at such institutions as The Art Institute of Chicago, Princeton University, Yale University, and New York’s School of Visual Arts. Her work is in the permanent collection of The Art Institute of Chicago, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and many others.