Morris Graves (1910-2001)

Morris Graves man in garden with plants in foreground
"Morris Graves in his Leek Garden", Imogen Cunningham
Partial List of Collections

Art Institute of Chicago
Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
The San Francisco Museum of Art
The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
Numerous Private Collections


Born in Fox Valley, Oregon, Morris Graves is recognized as one of the most influential artists of the Pacific Northwest. Self-taught, Graves received no formal art education, instead developing his own methods of seeing and painting. In the 1930s, Graves met Mark Tobey and Guy Anderson, two other artists residing in the Puget Sound area, deemed members of the Northwest School.

With the influence of Tobey, as well as his travels to Japan, Graves was engaged in a lifelong study of Zen Buddhism. His spiritual practices impacted his approach to painting and drawing. He developed an iconography which referenced nature and explored the transcendent.

In his later life, Graves built a home in Loleta, California, which he referred to as "The Lake". Living in relative solitude, he continued to develop his work and cultivate his relationship with nature until his passing in 2001.

Selected Exhibitions

Seattle Art Museum, 1936
Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1942
Arts Club of Chicago, 1943
Detroit Institute of Arts, 1943
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1956
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1956
M.H. de Young Museum, San Francisco, 1957
Seattle Art Museum, 2014

Morris Graves Foundation
Morris Graves, Biography, The Phillips Collection

Selected Works in Our Inventory