John Morris
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JOHN MORRIS (1920-1991) American Artist.

The American Impressionist John Morris was honored in 2006 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 Impressionism."

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.

Biographical information by Phil Kieffer of Stewart Galleries