Arthur Murphy Biography

Arthur Murphy




Lithographer and painter Murphy was born in Tiffin, Ohio, in 1906. His mother, a painter herself, encouraged Murphy's artistic leaning, and at age thirteen was supplementing his one-room-school education with a correspondence course in drawing. After a few years of freelancing as an illustrator and cartoonist, he saved enough to travel to New York and study at the Art Students League, where he was a pupil of Boardman Robinson. During this time, he would take the occasional train trip through the American West and down to Mexico. He soon fell in love with the life and landscape of the West, and in 1933, he moved to San Francisco and began studying at the California School of Fine Arts.

In California, he became acquainted with the works of Diego Rivera, and began executing mural art in the vein of precisionist artists such as Charles Sheerer, Elsie Driggs, and Louis Lozowick. His introduction to lithography came in 1932, at the Colorado Springs Art Center, also under the tutelage of Robinson. Thus began a long journey into the discovery of printmaking. His most well known prints often depict the labor movement in San Francisco Bay Area, the construction of bridges, rodeo riders, dancers, horses and a variety of other ³scenes of action². The mid-1930's also saw his discovery of watercolors, and he continued to study the Southwest landscape.

In 1943, he was drafted into army, to serve as a war artist in correspondence with the historical section of the National Archives. At this time his art took a deeply personal turn, exploring the horrors he witnessed on the frontlines. These images would continue to haunt him throughout the rest of his artistic career. Shortly after the war ended, he married Maxine Anne Appleby in Sydney, Australia. They returned to the U.S. and settled in Guilford, Connecticut. Here he divided his time between his own art, commercial art, and teaching; he died in 1991.