Elizabeth Murray


1940, Chicago, Illinois
2007, Washington County, New York


Elizabeth Murray (1940–2007) was an innovative painter best known for her shaped canvases, exuberant forms, and bright colors. She studied in her hometown, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), as well as at Mills College in Oakland, California, before moving to New York in 1967. Inspired by the pieces she saw at AIC, especially those by Paul Cézanne (1839–1906), Murray decided to pursue painting instead of commercial art. Her work defies categorization: oscillating between Minimalism and Pop, painting and sculpture, and abstraction and figuration, her nonrepresentational compositions often evoke familiar objects such as coffee cups, tables, or shoes. Describing her balance between abstraction and figuration, Murray once noted, “Somewhere in me, I think, lurks the pure abstract painter. And yet, I can never stay with it—it’s not possible for me. I always find myself wanting to find the image and yet keep it broken at the same time.”

Painter Elizabeth Murray shares a revelation about the nature of painting that Paul Cézanne's Still Life with Basket of Apples prompted in her as a young woman.

Works in the Collection

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