George Morrison (1919-2000)

George Morrison (1919-2000). Oil on canvas measures 5.5 x 8 inches; 10.5 x 12 inches framed. Excellent condition with no damage or restoration. Signed upper right. Provenance: collection of Philadelphia artist, Ben Wolf (1914-1996).



From Grand Marais, Minnesota, George Morrison was an abstract-expressionist painter and sculptor, known for his wood collages and paintings inspired by Lake Superior. His focus was on texture: “I like the so-called magical surface of a painting, the marks the painter makes”. (234-Herskovik)

HIs training was in traditional art but in the late 1930s and early 1940s, he became established as an Abstract Expressionist and “for year was better known outside Native American art circles than within”. (375-Lester).

He was born on the Grand Portage Ojibwa Reservation in northern Minnesota and earned a scholarship to study commercial art in Minneapolis. He graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, went to New York City to the Art Students League, and then to Paris on a Fulbright Scholarship.

For 20 years he lived in New York and also taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, but returned to Minnesota in 1970. There he founded the Indian Studies Program at the University of Minnesota and was a professor of art until 1983. After that, he moved to the North Shore of Lake Superior until his death.

He became the first artist honored with the Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art from the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana, and in 1992, the Tweed Museum at the University of Minnesota in Duluth and the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul gave him a retrospective exhibition. In 2003, a solo exhibition is planned at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian.