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  • Morris Graves

    United States

    Art Brokerage: Morris Graves American Artist: b. 1910-2001. Morris Cole Graves (August 28, 1910 - May 5, 2001) was an American expressionist painter. Along with Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan, William Cumming, and Mark Tobey, he founded the Northwest School which was an art movement based in small-town Skagit County, Washington, and was at its peak in the 1930s and 1940s. Graves was also a mystic.In 1954, Life Magazine did an article on "The Mystic Painters of the Northwest," featuring Graves, and including Guy Anderson, Kenneth Callahan, and Mark Tobey; this changed his life. Morris Graves mid-career works were influenced by East Asian philosophy and mysticism, which he used it as a way of approaching nature directly, avoiding theory. Graves adopted certain elements of Chinese and Japanese art, including the use of thin paper and ink drawing. He painted birds, pine trees, and waves. Graves works, such as "Blind Bird" often contain elements of Mark Tobey, who was inspired by Asian calligraphy. Graves switched from oils to gouaches, his bird became psychedelic, mystic, en route to transcendence. The paintings were bold, applied in a thick impasto with a palette knife, sometimes on coarse feed sacks.nIn the 1950s, Graves returned to oils, but also painted in watercolor and tempera. From 1954 through 1964, Graves lived in Ireland and sculpted. Graves moved to Loleta, California, near Eureka in 1964. His later paintings were increasingly abstract, and while they retained their delicacy, the Asian influence was gone. In later years and especially at the end of his notable career, Graves returned to sculpture, originally created forty years earlier, and received critical acclaim for his "Instruments of a New Navigation," works inspired by NASA and space exploration.

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