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Memorial Day Wildflower Bouquet in the Cemetery of an Abandoned Western Mining Town

Morris%20Graves%2C%20%3Cb%3E%3Ci%3E%20Memorial%20Day%20Wildflower%20Bouquet%20in%20the%20Cemetery%20of%20an%20Abandoned%20Western%20Mining%20Town%3C%2Fi%3E%3C%2Fb%3E%2C%201936%2C%20oil%20on%20canvas%2C%20Museum%20Purchase%3A%20Funds%20provided%20by%20Arlene%20and%20Harold%20Schnitzer%2C%20%26%23169%3B%201936%20Morris%20Graves%20Foundation%2C%202001.45.1
Morris Graves, Memorial Day Wildflower Bouquet in the Cemetery of an Abandoned Western Mining Town, 1936, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Arlene and Harold Schnitzer, © 1936 Morris Graves Foundation, 2001.45.1

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Details
Title

Memorial Day Wildflower Bouquet in the Cemetery of an Abandoned Western Mining Town

Artist

Morris Graves (American, 1910-2001)

Date

1936

Medium

oil on canvas

Dimensions (H x W x D)

33 1/2 in x 37 7/8 in

Collection Area

Modern and Contemporary Art; Northwest Art

Category

Paintings

Object Type

painting

Culture

American

Credit Line

Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Arlene and Harold Schnitzer

Accession Number

2001.45.1

Copyright

© 1936 Morris Graves Foundation

Terms

canvas

flowers

ghost towns

oil paint

oil paintings

paintings

Location

Belluschi Building

Hirsch Wing

2nd Floor

Anne K. Millis Galleries

Millis Galleries (West)

Description

This melancholy painting was executed the year following the destruction of Graves's studio, containing all of his work, in a fire. It seems likely that the dark, smoke-filled sky in this composition refers, at least partially, to that loss. Born in Oregon, he studied Zen Buddhism in the early 1930s, though this composition does not seem to reflect his growing interest in East Asian philosophy and mysticism. The shallow space and calligraphic lines do, however, suggest some familiarity with Japanese prints.

Graves's compositions are typically bold, with thick application of impasto with a palette knife, and sometimes even painted on coarse feed sacks. In the 1950s, he abandoned the oil medium for gouache, but would eventually return to oil. He also took up watercolor and tempera, and even sculpting for a time. His work became increasingly abstract, and though it retained delicacy, the Asian influence was gone. In later years and especially at the end of his career, he would return to sculpture and received critical acclaim for his works inspired by NASA space exploration.

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