For immediate release
Renowned Minnesotan and Founding Figure of Native Modernist Art George Morrison, Commemorated By the U.S. Postal Service
The Minnesota Historical Society welcomes the release of George Morrison Commemorative Forever® Stamps on April 22. The sheet of 20 stamps feature five of Morrison’s extraordinary abstract landscapes, including three of Lake Superior. A First Day of Issue Dedication Ceremony will be held on April 22 at 1 p.m. in Grand Portage, Minn. It is open to the public. To register, please visit https://uspsonlinesolutions.wufoo.com/forms/george-morrison-commemorative-forevera-stamps/
Morrison’s prolific art often reflects a deep connection to Ojibwe culture and an abiding respect for nature. He is recognized as a founder of Native Modernism, combining impressionism with expressionism, cubism and surrealism in his landscape paintings and wood collages.
George Morrison (1919-2000) of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, moved from Minnesota to New York in 1943. By the late 1950s, his reputation as an abstract painter was established. In 1970, Morrison returned to Minnesota with his family where he continued to create works inspired by the landscape of his birthplace, with predominant horizontal lines, reflective of spaces where water meets the sky.
See, Read and Learn More about Morrison
Three of Morrison’s works are currently on display in the new exhibit Art Speaks at the Minnesota History Center, located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Two Untitled abstract landscapes are from his early work in 1959, following his time in New York when he became acquainted with Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollack and Franz Kline. The third work, Surrealist Landscape, dated about 1990-96 incorporates biomorphic shapes and features his iconic horizon line, influenced by surrealism. Admission to Art Speaks is included with regular History Center admission. More at www.mnhs.org/artspeaks
Morrison is celebrated in the book MN 150: The People, Places, and Things that Shape Our State by Kate Roberts. It is available from Minnesota Historical Society Press https://shop.mnhs.org/products/minnesota-150.
More about Morrison, his work and family can also be found at www.MNopedia.org, a resource for reliable information about significant people, places, events and things in Minnesota history.
Global Student of Art, Teacher to the Next Generation
Morrison was recognized early for his talents and was awarded many scholarships including a tribal scholarship, a Van Derlip Traveling Scholarship for the Art Students League in New York, a Fulbright scholarship and a fellowship from the John Hay Whitney Foundation. He studied in Minneapolis, New York, Paris and Antibes, France and finally closer to his family in Duluth, Minn.
In the mid-1970s, Morrison and his family built a home with an art studio on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation on Lake Superior, naming it Red Rock for the jasper in the nearby bluffs. This period marks a shift in Morrison’s art back to his Ojibwe roots and the nature surrounding him.
Morrison taught art at colleges including Cornell, Dayton Art Institute, Rhode Island School of Design and Pennsylvania State University. In 1970, he took a position at the University of Minnesota, where he taught Native American studies and art. Morrison retired from teaching in 1983 and moved permanently to Red Rock.
Born in 1919 on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation in Chippewa City, Minn., Morrison was one of 12 children in a close-knit family. Along with his brother Bernard, Morrison was eventually sent to Hayward Indian Boarding School in Wisconsin. He spoke only Anishinaabemowin until he was about six years old and learned English in school.
About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and book publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. Visit us at mnhs.org.
Editor’s Note: Resources cited,
Morrison, George (1919-2000), www.MNopedia.org, Sept. 15, 2015
Art Speaks exhibit text, Minnesota History Center, February 26, 2022