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Morris Graves

American, 1910-2001


Fox 1910


Loleta May 5, 2001

Occupation or Type


Northwest artist

Oregon artist


Over the course of a long, distinguished career Morris Graves melded western and Asian sensibilities in artworks that invite the viewer to share a spiritual experience. Growing up in Seattle, Graves traveled to Asia three times, and as an adult he became fascinated by Zen Buddhist philosophy. In the 1940s he worked at the Seattle Art Museum and studied its Asian art collection. With Tobey, Callahan, and Anderson, Graves was designated a Northwest mystic painter; though the youngest of the group, he was the first to receive recognition in major national exhibitions. "There is but one reason, aside from the personal uplift by expression, that gives me a purpose for painting," Graves said in the 1937 Group of Twelve catalog. "Let it be designated as a spiritual responsibility to share with others my ability to respond to color and form more directly and more readily than many." Graves traveled widely, lived for some time in the Skagit Valley and Ireland, and, from the early 1960s, resided in California.

Artist biography reproduced with permission of Katharine Harmon, author of The Pacific Northwest Landscape: A Painted History



Related People

Associate of: Guy Anderson (American, 1906-1998)

Associate of: Kenneth L. Callahan (American, 1905-1986)

Associate of: Carl Morris (American, 1911-1993)

Associate of: Mark Tobey (American, 1890-1976)

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