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George Morrison

George Morrison

Invited Artist

1919—2000

Fellowship: Contemporary Masters (1999)
Cultural Affiliation: Grand Portage Ojibwe

Morrison was born on the Grand Portage reservation near Chippewa City, Minnesota.  He showed artistic promise from a young age and won a tribal scholarship to attend the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.  In 1943, he received the Van Derlip traveling scholarship from the Art Students League of New York, and in 1952, he was a Fulbright Scholar who studied in Paris, France.  During Morrison’s time in New York, he developed friendships with abstract expressionists Franz Kline, William de Kooning, and Jackson Pollack.  He was an art professor at the Rhode Island School of Design from 1963 to 1970, and from 1970 to 1982, he taught art and American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota, Cornell University, and Pennsylvania State University.  Morrison is known for his abstract paintings, drawings, and wooden collages that centered on themes of horizon and landscape.  Many art historians consider him the founder of Native modernism.