Dolan/Maxwell

Nature/Amour

Nature/Amour

Norma Morgan

Norma Morgan: Enchanted World opened at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland, in the spring of last year. It was the first solo museum exhibition dedicated to the masterful works of this under-known printmaker and a second exhibition is in the planning stages for the spring of 2023.

This renewed interest in Morgan’s highly skillful engravings and watercolors is encouraging. One of only two women artists of color to work with Stanley William Hayter at the Atelier 17, Morgan was a trailblazer who showed immediate skill with engraving. In 1951, she received a John Hay Whitney Opportunity Fellowship to study abroad in England and Scotland. The Opportunity fellowships were created to offer artists of color a chance to work overseas. The landscapes of Dartmoor and The Catskill Mountains became the preferred subject for the rest of her life, and Morgan returned to the captivating English landscape on two separate journeys between 1961-64. From the late 1960s until 2010, she divided her time between Manhattan and Woodstock, NY. We’ve selected a group of engravings, woodblocks, and watercolors that affirm Morgan’s love for these wildlands. Some works were created in the moment through up-close observation, while others were created far-removed from the source, relying on memory mixed with a vivid imagination. Wherever their inspiration came from, the level of skill is consistent in each work of art. Morgan’s take on these rocky outcrops shows a Romantic view and a sense of infinite space in her beloved mountains. Her engravings Wild (1952-53), Stony Clove (1974), along with the color woodcut, Lovers (1951), reveal a deep and ongoing interest in human romance and passion. Morgan’s creative spirit remained ablaze in her later years, and though limited by the physicality of older age, she continued to explore - focusing more on the inner world than the outer.

Image Credit:

Norma Morgan, Wild, 1952-53

"As I get older, I feel a bit more mystical. All of these things around me like nature - they’re pretty great and big. If there is any church at all it is the interaction of nature and the earth around us; sunsets, sunrise, storms, and all sorts of things like that. That, to me, is spiritual."

Norma Morgan

Norma Morgan

Moor Lodge

c. 1955

7 3/4 x 13 3/4"

engraving

Price on request

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Norma Morgan

Middle Dene Farm

c. 1955

8 1/2 x 10 3/8"

engraving

Price on request

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Geoffrey Clements

Norma Morgan

Granite Tor

c. 1955

14 1/2 x 17 3/4"

engraving

Price on request

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Norma Morgan

Stony Clove (Catskill Mountains)

1974

8 3/4 x 13 7/8"

engraving

Price on request

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Photo: Harriet Tannin

Norma Morgan

Wild

1952-53

7 3/4 x 12 3/4"

engraving

Price on request

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Norma Morgan

Lovers

1951

14 1/8 x 10"

color woodcut

Price on request

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Photo: Harriet Tannin

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Belstone Tor, Dartmoor

Norma Morgan

2005

7 1/4 x 13 1/8"

watercolor

Price on request

Norma Morgan

Vixen Tor, Dartmoor

1999

11 x 14"

watercolor

Price on request

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -
9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Norma Morgan

Untitled

2008

8 7/8 x 14"

watercolor

Price on request

Norma Morgan

Moor Country (Dartmoor)

c. 1980

17 7/8 x 27 3/8"

engraving

Price on request

9 EvB- Artwork 9 (Gachet) (Portraits) -

Norma Morgan was born in New Haven, Connecticut. She attended the Art Students League and also took classes with Hans Hofmann. Around 1950 she became a member of Atelier 17 and is one of two known female African American artists to hav studied there. Morgan specialized in the graphic arts throughout her career and had a particular affinity for engraving. A year after joining Atelier 17, she won a one-year fellowship from the John Hay Whitney Foundation for study abroad in England and Scotland. Prints made during this fellowship period and just afterward represent a major shift in her style. Instead of abstraction, she now concentrated on landscape and representing the moors of the Scottish Highlands. Morgan managed to fill these plates with an enormous variety of textures and tonal variation. Morgan wanted her art to speak to all audiences, and her focus on landscape and natural subject matter was part of an effort to appeal broadly. Morgan exhibited her work extensively, and she received a grant from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation in 1962. Eventually, Morgan maintained a studio in New York’s Catskills region, where she continued to practice and care for her elderly mother. Her works are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Library of Congress; the National Gallery of Art, and others.

With thanks to Christina Weyl - The Women of Atelier 17 Modernist Printmaking in Mid-Century New York - Yale University Press.

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