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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Northern Image: The Muse III

Photo: Rob Vinnedge

Northern Image: The Muse III


Leo Kenney

born 1925, Spokane, Washington; died Seattle, Washington, 2001

Kenney claimed that this fantasy picture depicted broken symbols of some world of the past, but it evolved unconsciously he said, the selection of objects being purely arbitrary. He started with one object in isolation—the head of the Muse, perhaps—and then slowly worked around that. “What I’m going to do is invent a world to go around her, for her to inhabit,” Kenney explained to a friend who was skeptical about his approach to composition. Having consumed the writings of Sigmund Freud, Kenney was coming to understand the unconscious as the realm of inspiration, the home of the Muse.

Oil on canvas
29 5/8 x 19 1/2 in. (75.3 x 49.5 cm)
Overall: 35 1/2 × 25 1/2 in. (90.2 × 64.8 cm)
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Photo: Rob Vinnedge
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryLa Conner, Washington, Museum of Northwest Art, "Leo Kenney - Celebrating the Mysteries: A Retrospective", June 2, 2000 - October 1, 2000

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Leo Kenney Retrospective", 1973 (1973)

Seattle, Washington, Bumbershoot 1986, "Eccentis Satellites Exhibition", Seattle, Washington, August 29 - September 1, 1986, (08/29/1986 - 09/01/1986)

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Views and Visions In The Pacific Northwest", June 7 - September 2, 1990, (06/07/1990 - 09/02/1990)

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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