Gerald Murphy 1888 - 1964 American Geometric Abstraction/ Hard Edge Painters
Gerald Murphy met Sara Wiborg in East Hampton in 1904. In 1915, after a long courtship, the couple married. With Sara, Gerald cultivated the easy and graceful style of living for which they are celebrated even today. Uninterested in taking the reins at his father’s business—Mark Cross, a luxury leather goods company—Gerald studied at the Harvard School of Landscape Architecture. Shortly thereafter, the Murphys expatriated to France, where they were welcomed into the bohemian artistic and intellectual milieu. While in Paris, Murphy studied painting with Natalia Goncharova, painted backdrops for the Ballets Russes, and collaborated with Cole Porter on Within the Quota, a parody of American popular culture for the Swedish Ballet. Murphy met Pablo Picasso and Fernand Léger, who, along with Goncharova, influenced his painting style. He assimilated Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, and graphic art, achieving a style that is proto-Pop but also akin to American Precisionism. In 1923 the Murphys moved to Antibes, on the Côte d’Azur, where they bought and remodeled a house they named Villa America. Their cultivated life of luxurious informality attracted many famous friends and helped transform the shore into a summer destination. Frequent visits from Léger, Picasso, and literary figures such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald were captured in photographs, sketches, letters, and paintings. His father’s death in 1931 left Murphy in control of the floundering leather goods company when he and Sara returned to the United States in 1934. They again took up residence at The Dunes, Sara’s family estate in East Hampton. With the ascendance of Pop Art in the 1960s, Murphy was rediscovered. Only toward the end of his life did his contribution to American art receive recognition.