Carl Morris


Carl Morris was born in California. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (where he later taught) and in Vienna and Paris. He also taught at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

While working as director for the Federal Art Project’s Spokane Art Center in 1940, Morris met and married sculptor Hilda Grossman. They moved to Portland in 1941 where they lived for the rest of their lives.

Morris established a national reputation with original and highly personal abstract expressionist painting. As an Abstract Expressionist he valued experience over explanation. He said, “One listens to music and accepts the response. There is not the question: What does it mean? Yet the meaning is in the listening. Painting should be viewed with the same openness of mind and heart. Just experience the work, don’t try to explain it.”

Morris exhibited in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, and his paintings are included in many major museum collections. The Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture owns a collection of fourteen late career paintings by Carl Morris that were acquired from the Carl and Hilda Morris Foundation, Portland, Oregon in 2003.

Sources: Sonia Kazanjian, Carl Morris 1911-1993 [electronic document] (LaConner Washington, The Museum of Northwest Art, accessed 26 July 2006); available from; Internet.