Arthur George Murphy

Lithographs by Arthur George Murphy

Born in Tiffin, Ohio in January of 1906, Arthur George Murphy was a lithographer, painter and educator. He began his initial art education at the Cleveland School of Art. After relocating to New York City, Murphy studied for two years at the Art Students’ League under painter and illustrator Boardman Robinson and anatomy and figure drawing teacher George Bridgeman. 

Murphy worked for a short time as a cartoonist for Chicago and New York newspapers. In 1930, he relocated to San Francisco where he continued his studies at the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute. Murphy also studied briefly at Colorado Springs’ Broadmoor Art Academy from 1932 to 1934. After his studies, he abandoned commercial art to devote his time to fine art.

In August of 1935, the Federal Art Project was established as part of the New Deal program to fund visual arts in the United States. It was one of five Federal Project Number One projects sponsored by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression era. Between 1935 and 1940, Arthur Murphy worked on California’s Federal Art Project for which he produced murals and almost one hundred lithographs. Included among his many works are lithographs documenting the construction of both the Golden Gate and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridges. 

During the years of World War II, Arthur George Murphy served as a war artist and correspondent in the South Pacific area. After his discharge from service, he relocated permanently to Connecticut where he taught at the Whitney School of Art, which became part of Paier College, Bridgeport, in 1954, and at the private Quinnipiac College located in Hamden, Connecticut.

Exhibitions of Murphy’s work included a 1934 mural for a public works project in southern California, an exhibition at the San Francisco Art Association in 1937, an exhibition at the De Young Museum in 1939, a 1941 solo exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Art, and an exhibition at the Newark Museum of Art in New Jersey.

Arthur George Murphy died at the age of eighty-five in Old Saybrock, Connecticut in 1991. His work is housed in both private and public collections including that of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of American Art, Philadelphia’s Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the University of Kentucky Art Museum, among others.

Top Insert Image: Arthur George Murphy, “Ballet Dancers, Ballet Russe”, 1939, Lithograph, 41.3 x 29.2 cm, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota

Bottom Insert Image: Arthur George Murphy, “Steel Riggers, Bay Bridge”, 1936, Lithograph, 39.4 x 30.5 cm, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota

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