Untitled Document

Artist Biography

 John Francis Murphy was born in Oswego, New York in December of 1853. At the age of fifteen, Murphy moved with his familt to Chicago, where he began painting billboards. Largely self-taught, he may have studied briefly at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art. In 1874, the artist moved to New York to sketch in the Adirondacks, where he met Winslow Homer. Shortly afterwards, he opened a studio in the Tenth Street Studio Building. It was not long before Murphy received wide recognition for his highly poetic landscapes, which commanded high prices during his lifetime.

Murphy was referred to as the “American Corot” because of his similarity to the painting style of Camille Corot (1796-1875), one of the original Barbizon painters in France. He was best known for his landscapes which capture the simple forms of nature and the subtle nuances of the scenes he depicted. Such scenes won the artist numerous prizes, medals and honors and it is easy to see why they rank with those of George Inness, Alexander Wyant, and Homer Martin.

Murphy first exhibited his work at the National Academy of Design in New York City in 1876 (through 1921) and went on to earn several prizes for his paintings including a prize in 1885 and the Gold Medal in 1910. He exhibited extensively at the Brooklyn Art Academy (1878-1885); Boston Art Club (1881-1909); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine

Arts Annual exhibitions in 1884-1885, and 1898-1902, 1908-1911, 1916 and 1921; the Society of American Artists (awards, 1887 and 1902); Columbian Expo, Chicago (medal,
1893); American Watercolor Society (prize, 1894); Art Club of Philadelphia (gold medal, 1899); Paris Expo (1900); Pan-American Exposition (medal, 1901); Charleston Expo
(gold medal, 1902); St. Louis Expo (medal, 1904); Corcoran Gallery biennials (1907-1919); Salmagundi Club (prize, 1911); and the Pan-Pacific Expo, San Francisco in 1915 (medal). Murphy was made a full member of the National Academy in 1887 and he participated in a number of other artistic societies including the Rochester and Brooklyn Art Clubs; Lotos Club; Salmagundi Club; Society of American Artists; and the American Watercolor Society.

John Francis Murphy’s work can be viewed at such notable public and private collections as the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA; Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC; Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA; Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN; Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; and the Heckster Museum, Huntington, Long Island, NY, among others.