Maurice Lapp Biography

Maurice Lapp




Maurice "Maury" Lapppainter and educator, was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 17, 1925. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he earned both his BFA and MFA. Maury studied painting abroad in 1950 on a Ryerson Foreign Travel Fellowship, and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area after his return. In 1952, Lapp began teaching painting at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. A Fulbright Grant received in 1954 allowed him to study in Mexico, where he remained for a year and a half, painting and exhibiting. In 1956 he moved just north of San Francisco to Santa Rosa, California where he joined the art faculty at the Santa Rosa Junior College. He remained at the Junior College until his retirement in 1992, but his teaching career did not end there. Lapp, whose strong work ethic prompted him to paint daily, was a popular instructor and continued to mentor part-time until the year before his death at age 88.

Lapp had numerous solos exhibitions in his long career, including at the Oakland Museum of California; the De Young Museum, San Francisco (1962); Santa Rosa Junior College; the Memorial Union Gallery of the University of California at Davis; the Stevenson College Gallery at the University of California, Santa Cruz; the Walnut Creek Civic Arts Center; the School of Education at Stanford University; the California Palace of the Legion of Honor at San Francisco (1956, 1958); and the American Cultural Institute in Mexico.

Of particular interest to Lapp throughout his career was urban architecture and cityscapes, often depicting skylines and more intimate structures in angular, Abstract Expressionist forms that nevertheless conveyed an array of moods. He was known for his compositions of San Francisco and Chicago, and would frequently revisit a skyline at different times of day to capture it in different lights. His palette and nearly non-objective style tied him to the Bay Area's output of artists who helped spur the West Coast's Abstract Expressionist movement. Yet he was equally if not more so known as a Sonoma County artist who both taught and supported the work of noted local artists such as Micah Schwaberow and Elizabeth Quandt.

His work was featured in group exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Denver Art Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Oakland Museum of California, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, and Expo 1970 in Osaka, Japan. His work is represented in the collections of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, the Oakland Museum of California, the City of San Francisco, the City of Santa Rosa, and the Santa Rosa Junior College Library, as well as numerous private collections.

Maurice Lapp died in Santa Rosa, California on May 31, 2014.