APRIL 17, 2000

OJIBWE LANDSCAPE, MODERNIST PAINTER WAH WAH TEH GO NAY GA BO (GEORGE MORRISON) DIED

Morrison was born in 1919 on Grand Portage Reservation, Chippewa City, Minnesota.  His Ojibwe name meant “Standing in the Northern Lights.”  He was age ten, recovering from hip surgery, when he took up drawing and carving.  This led to a tribal scholarship to attend the Minneapolis School of Art where he developed as a modernist painter.  Receiving a Van Derlip Traveling Scholarship for the Art Students League, George studied in New York from 1943-46.  In the 1950s, he received both a Fulbright scholarship and a John Hay Whitney Foundation fellowship (both 1952), became acquainted with expressionists including Jackson Pollack, and taught art at Cornell.  In the 1970s, he built his Red Rock studio on the reservation where his art began to reflect his roots.  By the 1990s, Morrison was seen as a founder of Native modernism.  In 1999, he received a Master Artist Award from the Eiteljorg Museum Fellowship for Native American Fine Art.  Morrison worked at Red Rock until his death.

Source:  Susan Marks, “Morrison, George (1919-2000),” MNOpedia, 9/10/2015.  Retrieved 6/27/2019, http://www.mnopedia.org/person/morrison-george-1919-2000
Photo:  Victor Bloomfield, 1976.  Morrison and Hazel Belvo.  Courtesy Minnesota Historical Society.  

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