Murphy, Hermann Dudley

Hermann Dudley Murphy

 (AM. 1876-1945)

A major figure in the Boston School style of painting and also as a painter in the Tonalist style emanating from Barbizon, France, Herman Murphy did a variety of subject matter beginning with portraits and figure studies and later painting still lifes, seascapes and landscapes. He was especially noted for his floral still lifes, a subject he turned to in the 1920s, later in his career, and depicted with Impressionist style, classical format, sculptural appearance of featured subject, and decorative background patterning. Many of these still lifes had images of exquisite Chinese porcelains, bronzes, rugs, and antiques. Murphy was born in Marlboro, Massachusetts and became a student of Edmund Tarbell and Frank Benson at the Boston Museum School. In 1891, he traveled to Paris and enrolled at the Academy Julian as a student of Jean Paul Laurens. In painting and also in designing and making of frames, he was the most influenced by James Whistler, whom he met in Europe. Murphy established his studio, “Carrig Rohane”, near Boston in Winchester. Using his studio name for frames intended to complement tonalist-style paintings, he established a framing business with Charles Prendergast and W. Alfred Thulin. Their product reflected the prevailing Aesthetic Movement, whose tenets included the commitment to art expressed throughout the totality of the work of art. Murphy also taught at Harvard University. A special interest of Murphy was canoeing. As a traveler, Murphy went to the tropics and loved the sun-ridden environment, which much influenced his landscape painting. He was an exhibitor in the 1913 Armory Show in New York and Boston, but by 1928, he had given up modernism all-together. The Boston Sunday Post, 2/19/28 carried the following quote by him: “These Modernist painters say that they paint not what they see, but what they feel–well, Heaven help them if they feel like what they paint!” Source: