The American Impressionist John
Morris was honored this year with the inclusion of his work in the world
renowned galleries of the Vatican. A rare tribute to the painter who has
established a loyal following on the West Coast as well as gaining popularity
with exhibitions in New York, Chicago and Palm Beach.
Born in Laguna Beach, California in
1920, his early love of painting manifested itself at the age of fifteen when he
painted portraits of people at local fairs. Even then, he wished to capture the
essence of the subject rather than the outward appearance, a principle he has
followed throughout his career. He painted and studied constantly until he
joined the Armed Services during WW II, and became an official combat artist in
the South Pacific. His work was included in the exhibition at the National
Gallery in Washington, D.C. during WW II. Very few living artists have been
accorded this special honor. He went on to paint in Italy and England as well as
in the US, but his greatest love was France, which he visited yearly.
He was so taken by French Art that
he suggested that artists should go there to become exposed to the "sense of
Livingness", and as he put it, "The voluptuous spirit of the soul" which exists
in France. Morris has said, "I have tried all the schools, and with the
Impressionists I get what I want to see in color without being too overly
explicit. In each canvas you can bring out something that is a communication
with some spiritual and virtual response from something that you are looking at
as you paint and as you work you can try to paint what you see with your eyes.
If you reach that communication with the painting it should be that that is
To John Morris beauty could be seen
in playing with children. There are nuns in his family, and he was impressed
with the beauty of ritual, yet he captured the human qualities as well. In 1958
he established an art center in Palm Springs, California where he taught
students, many of whom are celebrities of the film industry. He also had studios
in Honolulu, Paris, Rome and London. However in 1967 he gave up teaching to
devote his energies and talent full time to painting. These paintings reveal the
beauty of life. They are splashed with light and color. He captured, on the
contemporary scene, the qualities expressed by artists such as Monet, Pisarro
and those artists who developed the principle of Impressionism. He died in 1991.
His paintings are included in the
collections of the Modern Museum of Art, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo; the
Honolulu Academy of Art; the Santa Barbara Museum; Galerie Drop d'Or; Galleries
Ensieme, Roma, Cannes, in addition to other museums. His works have also been
featured at the Festival of Two Worlds, by President Kubleck of Brazil, and the
Kennedy Library in Boston. His works have been collected by Mrs. Aristotle
Onassis, Frederick Loewe, Bing Crosby, and many others worldwide.