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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)


Photo: Elizabeth Mann


probably 1933

Morris Graves

born Fox Valley, Oregon, 1910; died Loleta, California, 2001

Morning is unequivocally an image of retreat, of the pain of facing the light, of the fear of facing the day. If it is a self- portrait, it suggests the young Graves’ unsettled emotional state as he considered the state of the world—which he did in his prophetic Millennium Light of this same time period—and gave form to his awakening fears. Perhaps, too, the painting depicts something of the self-consciousness he displayed in the haunting Moor Swan, as Graves considered what he had come to see as his separateness from others—as an artist, a pacifist, and a homosexual man.

Oil on burlap
38 x 47 in. (96.5 x 119.4 cm)
Framed: 46 x 55 in. (116.8 x 139.7cm)
Gift of the Marshall and Helen Hatch Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum
Provenance: Eunice, Clise, Seattle (who cut several inches off the top of the painting); [Greenfield's Auction Galleries, Seattle, March 1964, as Man on Bed]; Martin Selig, Seattle; sold through [Foster/White Gallery, Seattle]; sold to Marshall and Helen Hatch, Seattle, May 8, 1982; by bequest to Seattle Art Museum
Photo: Elizabeth Mann
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryWashington, D.C., The Phillips Collection, Morris Graves: Vision of the Inner Eye, Apr. 9 - May 29, 1983 (Greenville, South Carolina, Greenville County Museum of Art, July 1 - Aug. 28, 1983; New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Sept. 15 - Nov. 27, 1983; Oakland, Calfiornia, The Oaklnd Museum, Jan. 18 - Mar. 25, 1984; Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Apr. 19 - July 8, 1984; San Diego, California, San Diego Museum of Art, July 24 - Sept. 4, 1984). Text by Ray Kass. Cat. no. 3.

La Conner, Washington, Museum of Northwest Art, Morris Graves: The Early Works, June 25 - Sept. 30, 1998 (Stamford, Connecticut, Whitney Museum of American Art, Mar. 12 - June 3, 1998; Greenville, South Carolina, Greenville County Museum of Art, Mar. 17 - May 16, 1999; Beaumont, Texas, Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Sept. 9 - Nov. 30, 1999). Text by Theodore F. Wolff. No cat. no., pp. 44, 67, reproduced p. 45 [dated ca. 1933].

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Morris Graves and Seattle, Nov. 1, 2001 - Oct. 20, 2002. No catalogue.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: The Mythic and the Mystical, June 19 - Sept. 7, 2014. Text by Patricia Junker. Not in catalogue.

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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