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Shore Birds

Morris Cole Graves, American, 1910 - 2001

Made in United States, North and Central America


Black sumi ink over traces of charcoal on beige laid Asian paper

Sheet: 24 1/8 x 33 1/2 inches (61.3 x 85.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund and the Carl and Laura Zigrosser Collection (by exchange), 2005

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The painter Morris Graves absorbed a variety of influences from widely different cultures, overlaying his attraction to the flora and fauna of his native Pacific Northwest with his experience of the philosophies and the art materials and techniques of the Far East. Writers on the artist emphasize the reductive, Zen-like quality of his work, its meditative aspect, his quasi-spiritual regard for nature, and the skilled and delicate evocation of Chinese calligraphy in his drawings. Graves's fine calligraphic brushwork and use of Japanese paper and sumi ink in this drawing of sixteen speckled birds in downward flight exemplify all of those characteristics.