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Painting with Elizabeth Murray

About the Artist

Elizabeth Murray was an American painter, printmaker and draughtsman.

Elizabeth Murray was born in Chicago in 1940. She earned a BFA at the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Mills College in Oakland, California. She began painting at an early age and was encouraged to pursue her art by her parents. In high school she had a teacher who had a passion for the arts and encouraged her to experiment.

Today Murray’s distinctively constructed paintings jut out from the wall in sculptural form, blurring the line between paintings in two-dimensional form and painting as objects. She uses watercolors playfully and brings to life everyday objects, such as cups, drawers, utensils, chairs, and tables. These familiar objects are matched with cartoonish fingers and floating eyeballs, images that are as nightmarish as they are goofy. Taken as a whole, Murray’s paintings are abstract compositions rendered in bold colors and multiple layers of paint. But the details of the paintings reveal a fascination with dream states and the psychological aspect of domestic life.

The recipient of many awards, Murray received the Skowhegan Medal in Painting in 1986, the Larry Aldrich Prize in Contemporary Art in 1993, and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award in 1999. Her work is featured in many collections, including the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Murray died at her home in New York on August 12, 2007.

Elizabeth Murray shares her routine, strategy and advice for young artists in Painting with Elizabeth Murray


Creative Learning From Our Artists

Build knowledge and develop skills using creative techniques shared by world-renowned artists through a series of interactive presentations using engaging video and other multimedia. Every renowned artist was once a child – you and your students can explore their journey and learn more about their craft to see how it informs and enriches all subject areas