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Jerre Murry (1904 – 1973)

Untitled (Cubist Portrait), 1945, oil on masonite, signed and dated lower middle, 20 x 16 inches, remnant of exhibition label verso, perhaps exhibited at Murry's solo exhibition at the Los Angeles's Screen Cartoonists' Gallery, July , 1945, presented in its original frame


Jerre Murry was a California modernist painter. Born in Columbia, Missouri, Murry studied at the Detroit Academy of Art and worked as an artist for the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.  Murry traveled to the Bahamas, where he was inspired to paint modernist scenes of island life and people. By the early 1930s, Murry had relocated to Los Angeles, where he caught the attention of Synchromist painter Stanton Macdonald Wright, State Supervisor for the Federal Art Project (FAP) in Southern California. MacDonald Wright enrolled Murry into the FAP. Murry’s Gauguin-influenced painting Sun Image was exhibited together with other FAP artists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1936, and Murry was also included in the FAP exhibit at the Paris Exposition in 1937. Stendahl Galleries in Los Angeles, the Chamber of Commerce Gallery in Santa Barbara, and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art also showed Murry’s work during the 1930s. Murry created a murals for Los Angeles Water & Power Company, the Boise, Idaho Post Office, and Glendale Junior College. In 1939, Murry's work was exhibited at the Golden Gate International Exposition and the New York World's Fair. He also was included in the All California Exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of art that same year. He went on to exhibit in Los Angeles at the Foundation of Western Art's Trends in Southern California Art shows in 1940 and 1941, at Raymond and Raymond Gallery in Hollywood and USC’s Elizabeth Holmes Fisher Gallery, and the Pasadena Museum of Art. In 1941, Murry had a solo show at En's Gallery, and exhibited in the San Francisco Bay Area, at the Oakland Art Gallery’s Annual Exhibition of Oil Paintings. Murry exhibited in the Second and Third Annual Exhibitions of the Artists of Los Angeles and Vicinity at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1941 and 1942. For a short time, Murry became the director of the Spokane Art Center in Washington state, but returned to the Los Angeles area. In 1942, Murry had a critically acclaimed solo show at the Stendahl Galleries, comprising 71 of his oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings.

In 1945 at the time he created Untitled (Cubist Portrait), Murry again received critical notice for his exhibition at Los Angeles's Screen Cartoonists' Gallery. Writing in the Los Angeles Evening Citizen News, Herman Reuter commented, "An effect of tireless experimentation, no only in manipulation but in other painter's points of view, is discernable in an exhibition of oils and gouaches which Jerre Murry has hung in the gallery of the Screen Cartoonists. . . What the paintings probably indicate, somewhat more definitely, is a kind of searching for more positive original paths. Included in the exhibition are a number of small oils . . . These have a scope and authority about them which goes far."

Murry is listed in Who Was Who in American Art and other standard references.


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