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Revere Auctions
Live Auction

Visions of the North: Minnesotan Art & History

Tue, May 21, 2024 11:00AM EDT
Lot 57

George Morrison Gouache Sailboat Painting 1949

Estimate: $6,000 - $8,000

Bid Increments

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$0 $25
$300 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
$500,000 $25,000
$1,000,000 $50,000
$10,000,000 $100,000
George Morrison (Ojibwe, 1919-2000). Gouache on paper painting depicting two sailboats on the water, 1949. Signed and dated along the lower left.

Provenance: Private Minnesota Collection.

Lot Essay:
Regarded as the founding figure of Native American modernism and among the top American abstract expressionist painters is George Morrison. Also highly regarded as a master collage artist, he assembled large collages of found driftwood and woodcut in framed, puzzle-like forms. In the 1940s, he was formally trained at the Minneapolis College of Art and in the 1950s at the Art Students League in New York before receiving a Fulbright to study in France. Taking his place as part of the modern art movement in New York in the 1950s after World War II, he was friends with Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, regularly exhibiting with de Kooning, Philip Guston, Hans Hofmann, and Franz Kline. Morrison helped bring the New York Modern Art movement to Minnesota, where he was based and worked with pure form via Abstract Expressionism. Later in his career, in the mid-1970s, Morrison shifted to a new theme and started to really explore his heritage when he and his family built a home with an art studio on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation on Lake Superior, naming it Red Rock.

Rather than portraying an overt depiction of identity, Morrison was in the process of exploring his identity so he looked to nature, stating “in this search for my own identity, I seek the power of the rock, the magic of the water, the religion of the tree, the color of the wind and the enigma of the horizon.” Translating nature into paintings was Morrison’s way to navigate learning and absorption, and in turn produce self-expression. His token theme was the horizon, taking on dynamic form as colors or shapes in the eternal motion of nature. His inspiration was provided by Lake Superior, observing and documenting the temporary sight of the revered sky meeting landscape that he beheld in the moment.

His artworks are spotted today in the collections of the Heard Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art, US National Gallery of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Walker Art Center. In 1997 he was honored in a ceremony at the White House when his work was included in the Twentieth Century American Sculpture at The White House: Honoring Native Americans exhibition. In 1999 Morrison was honored as inaugural Master Artist in the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis.

Sight; height: 8 1/4 in x width: 10 1/2 in. Framed; height: 16 in x width: 18 in x depth: 1 in.

Condition

The sheet is affixed to a paperboard backing. The sheet is toned. There are several small chips along the edges of the sheet. Some discoloration along the left edge, possibly from the glue used to adhere the sheet to the board. There is a light undulation to the sheet throughout. The paperboard backing is fragile. There are discolorations throughout it from the glue used. There are several large tears throughout. Due to the fragile nature of the board, the verso has not been inspected. Housed between two non-acidic mats. Framed under glass, light wear to the frame. The paper backing of the frame has been cut along three sides to allow for inspection of the painting.

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