Jerre H. Murry Biography

Jerre H. Murry




Painter, printmaker, illustrator, and muralist Jerre Murry was born in Columbia, Missouri in 1904. He studied at the Detroit Academy of Art, Michigan, and then worked as an illustrator for the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, and established himself as a portraitist with commissions from some of the city’s most prominent citizens. A love of the work of Paul Gaugin inspired a visit the Bahamas in the late 1920s, where his Cubist/Modernist paintings borrowed from the color-drenched landscapes and cultural symbolism.

A chance encounter with Los Angeles-based painter Stanton Macdonald Wright, then the State Supervisor for the Southern California Art Project, Wright encouraged Murray to come out to Los Angeles and work for the local Federal Art Project. Murry relocated to Los Angeles in the 1930s and, in addition to working for the WPA, freelanced as a set designer for a movie studio.

Murry began exhibiting regulary throughout Southern California, including in various Federal Art Project shows at the Stendahl Galleries in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Art Museum (1936), the Chamber of Commerce Gallery in Santa Barbara (1937), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1939). He also exhibited at the Paris Exhibition (1937), Golden Gate International Exhibition in San Francisco (1939), and the "American Art Today" exhibition at the New York World's Fair (1939). Among the works he created during the WPA years was a mural, "Aquae Benedictae (Blessed Waters), for the Los Angeles Water & Power Co. (1938), a mural for the Post Office in Boise, Idaho, and a petrachrome mural for Glendale Junior College.

He went on to exhibit in Los Angeles at the Foundation of Western Art's "Trends in Southern California Art" shows in 1940 and 1941, at Raymond and Raymond Gallery in Hollywood and USC’s Elizabeth Holmes Fisher Gallery (1940), and at Stendahl Galleries and the Pasadena Museum of Art (1941). Also in 1941, Murry had a solo show at En's Gallery, and exhibited in the San Francisco Bay Area, at the Oakland Art Gallery’s "Annual Exhibition of Oil Paintings."

Murry exhibited in the Second and Third Annual Exhibitions of the Artists of Los Angeles and Vicinity at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1941 and 1942. Murry became the director of the Spokane Art Center in Washington state, but it seems that he only remained there a short time before returning to the Los Angeles area.

In 1942, Murry had a critically-acclaimed solo show at the Stendahl Galleries, comprising 71 of his oil paintings, watercolors and drawings; and in 1945 he again received critical notice for his exhibition at Los Angeles's Screen Cartoonists' Gallery.

By the 1960s Murry was teaching art at the Inglewood Adult High School and also held private classes. He passed away in Los Angeles on September 7, 1973.

Biography partially sourced from (written by Spencer Helfen Fine Arts)