MacArthur Fellows Program

MacArthur Fellows / Meet the Class of 1999

Elizabeth Murray

Painter

Age: 59

Published July 1, 1999

Elizabeth Murray is a painter noted for creating three-dimensional, often large, canvases.

Ordinary objects such as shoes or teacups and saucers appear in her paintings and serve as metaphors for the life of the emotions. These conceptually sophisticated and abstract pieces, which speak directly from her personal experience, lead many to regard her as one of the most original artists of her generation. Murray’s paintings, often multipaneled canvases, are conceptually sophisticated and abstract. Following neither prevailing fashion nor critical theory, her work often tells complex stories. Joy, domesticity, memory, and pain are the themes of her work, and they are represented in her paintings in ways that are poignant, humorous, and sometimes angry. She continues to experiment stylistically in her paintings, exploring different kinds of depths, such as spatial illusion. 

Murray is a professor of studio arts at Bard College. She has held visiting faculty appointments at the California Institute of the Arts, Princeton University, and Yale University, among other institutions. Her work is in the permanent collections of major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Murray received a B.F.A (1962) from the Art Institute of Chicago and an M.F.A. (1964) from Mills College. (Deceased, August 12, 2007.)

Last updated January 1, 2005

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The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Learn More

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