Elizabeth Murray


McGovern Institute
(Building 46)
3rd floor lobby

Murray’s early paintings tended to be narrative and incorporated elements taken from comics and cartoons. As she absorbed the lessons of Cubism, they became more abstract. Her work has never abandoned figuration, but has become more compressed formally and emotionally as the canvases have become fragmented and complex. Her subject matter is often traditional still-life: domestic objects like shoes, cups, tables, and chairs that are set in motion by jumbled spaces and fractured planes, suggesting the psychological tensions which underlie domestic life. 

Cast-a-way is a fine example of Murray’s mature work. The work is constructed in three parts: two shaped canvases and one painted wooden form that juts out from the wall. While the distorted forms of coffee cup and table recall a cubist still-life, her painting is infused with psychological intensity by the juxtaposed planes and active brushstrokes that set this corner of domestic life into disconcerting motion.

Read more about Elizabeth Murray






Oil on canvas, wood


73.25 in. x 78 in. x 5 in. (186.06 cm x 198.12 cm x 12.7 cm)


Gift of Kitty and
Herb Glantz