Skip to content


George Morrison (1990–2000)

George Morrison was an abstract painter and sculptor. He is well known for his landscape paintings, often inspired by Lake Superior, and his wooden collage sculptures. George Morrison aligned with the modern art individualist movement, as he wanted his work to be appreciated apart from his personal history rather than through the lens of only his identities and cultural background.

One of twelve children, George Morrison grew up in Minnesota on the Grand Portage Ojibwa Reservation. After graduating high school in 1938, George Morrison attended what is now known as the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. A recipient of the Ethel Morrison Van Derlip Traveling Scholarship, he moved to New York City in 1943 to continue his studies at the Art Students League. 

While in New York George Morrison was exposed to cubism and surrealism, and began socializing within abstract expressionist artist circles. His mentor while training at the Art Students League was Russian Empire-born American painter Morris Kantor. In 1952, Morrison traveled to Paris on a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and Antibes and the University of Aix-Marseilles. One year later he was awarded the John Hay Whitney Fellowship and returned to the United States to spend time in his home state of Minnesota.

George Morrison returned to New York City in 1954, connecting with a new wave of American expressionists which included Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Eventually he took on a teaching position at Rhode Island School of Design, where he stayed on for about seven years. In 1970, he returned to Minnesota once more, where he stayed until retirement. He taught American Indian Studies and Art at University of Minnesota from 1970–1983.


George Morrison married twice in his life. His second wife was fellow painter Hazel Belvo, who remained his friend even after the two divorced in 1991. He passed away in Minnesota in 2000, where he had lived out his final years continuing to make art in his home studio. His late works include large sculptures he created using driftwood. George Morrison would gather the materials for these sizable projects (some as wide as 20 feet) along the shorelines.

George Morrison was the first artist honored with the Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art from the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2004, his art was exhibited at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

Museum Collections:
National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis MN
Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, Duluth MN
Heard Museum, Phoenix AZ


Biography of George Morrison on Wikipedia
Archives of AskART