J. Francis Murphy

(Oswego, New York, 1853 - 1921)

North America, American

John Francis Murphy was an American tonalist painter best known for his landscapes. Largely self-taught, as a young man he painted theater backdrops in Chicago. He studied briefly at the Chicago Academy of Design, where he met Emil Carlsen and Theodore Robinson. In 1873, during a painting excursion to the Adirondack Mountains, he met Winslow Homer. In search of greater artistic opportunities, Murphy moved to New York City in 1875 and began to exhibit with the National Academy of Design and the American Watercolor Society. Murphy came under the influence of the Barbizon school during an 1886 sojourn in France, and his work increasingly evinced an intimate, romantic mood. Influenced by transcendentalist thinkers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, Murphy developed a tonalistic style, with dark, muted colors and less descriptive brushstrokes.

Murphy was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1873 and the American Watercolor Society in 1880. He joined the Salmagundi Club, a group of artists associated with art nouveau and the arts-and-crafts movement, in 1878. His work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, NY; the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C., and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

New York

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