Maud Morgan (1903 – 1999)

June 8, 2012

Contemporary Artist, Abstract Expressionism
Lot #9749, Willow Avenue

Maud Morgan is remembered for her optimism, boldness and talent.  She was born in New York and graduated from Barnard College.  In 1926 she went to Paris and became a part of the artistic community there.  Her talent as an artist was recognized early and by the late 1930s and early 1940s she was exhibiting at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York City and was the featured artist in an exhibit of distinguished Abstract Expressionists at Yale.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Whitney Museum also acquired her works at that time, almost unheard of for a female contemporary artist.

In 1940 Maud moved to Andover, Massachusetts for her husband’s teaching career.  She taught and mentored many young artists such as Carle Andre and Frank Stella.  In the late 1950s she moved to the Agassiz neighborhood of Cambridge.  Her paintings were regularly exhibited at the Barbara Singer Gallery.  Although primarily a painter, she did experiment with other media, such as paper collages once she was too frail to hold a brush.  She was so respected that in 1993 an award was established in her honor, the Maud Morgan prize at the Museum of Fine Arts.  It is the only award the MFA grants annually to a Massachusetts woman artist in mid-career who has been consistently involved in her work, with little recognition for 10 years or more.  Morgan has had one-person shows at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, the Fuller Art Museum in Brockton, the Addison Gallery in Andover, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Shortly after the publication of her autobiography “Maud’s Journey: A Life from Art” at age 92 she was asked in a Boston Globe interview “Do you think about death?” She replied: “A bit.  My children are getting a little worried – they think we haven’t done enough planning.  So we all went and got little pieces of ground at Mount Auburn Cemetery.  And we had so much fun.  We had a hysterical day.”  Maud Morgan died in 1999 and is buried on Willow Ave, Lot #9749.  As a tribute to Maud, her friends, neighbors and colleagues proposed that a new arts center in the Agassiz neighborhood of Cambridge be named in her honor.  Until the end she was full of life, colorful and continues to be in inspiration to artists.

Morgan’s monument on Willow Avenue.


Portrait of Maud Morgan (top): Photograph courtesy of Jamie Cope.

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