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Elizabeth Murray

Children Meeting

1978

Artist

Elizabeth Murray (1940-2007)

Title

Children Meeting

Date

1978

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Overall: 101 3/16 × 127 in. (257 × 322.6 cm)

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Louis and Bessie Adler Foundation, Inc., Seymour M. Klein, President

Accession number

78.34

Object Label

Elizabeth Murray forged a distinctively exuberant vocabulary using lines, shapes, and colors associated with comic strips as well as a simplicity of form derived from reductive abstraction. Children Meeting was made at a time when Murray was consolidating her visual language. As she recalled, the painting “grew out of a confidence about being able to lay down the colors and put in the goofy shapes that were beginning to emerge. . .I’d never allowed myself to use that zany purple; it’s a very hard color because it doesn’t have a clear emotion for me.” Murray’s comment implies the importance of psychological associations in her work; equally significant is the implicit presence of the figure, even in paintings that seem resolutely non-representational. Small children engaged in joyous, boisterous play can be discerned in the jostling green and pink forms of Children Meeting, which Murray produced when she was a young mother, witnessing such play every day.

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