George L. K. Morris
b. 1905, New York, New York
d. 1975, Stockbridge, Massachusetts
George L. K. Morris was an American writer, editor, painter, and sculptor best known for his advocacy of abstract art in the early 20th century. After graduating from Yale in 1928, Morris pursued his creative interests at the Art Students League in New York were he studied under John French Sloan and Kenneth Hayes Miller. The following year he traveled to Paris, accompanied by Albert Eugene Gallatin. While there, Morris took classes at the Académie Moderne, where he was taught by Fernand Léger and Amédée Ozenfant. During this time, Morris befriended Jean Hélion through whom he made the acquaintances of Jean Arp, Constantin Brancusi, George Braque, and Pablo Picasso. Upon returning to New York in 1936, Morris founded the group American Abstract Artists. Committed to the possibilities of European “non-objective” art, particularly Cubism, Morris worked to provide a historical case for abstraction. During World War II, Morris worked as a draftsman for a naval architect’s firm. Whereas many of his peers turned away from Cubism after the war, Morris was devoted, continuing to produce his signature checkerboard works until his death in 1975.
His work can be seen in the collections of The Phillips Collection and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, among others. The home and studio Morris shared with his wife, fellow artist Suzy Frelinghuysen, in Lenox, MA has been turned into a museum.