In this work by George L. K. Morris, fractured, overlapping shapes of various colors are arranged on the canvas in a kaleidoscopic formation.

George L. K. Morris

American, 1905–1975

Composition, 1941

1905–1975

24 x 20 inches

Signed, titled, and dated on the verso

Composition was painted during Morris’s involvement with the American Abstract Artists group, an organization he cofounded that aimed to distinguish abstract, nonrepresentational art from expressionism, realism, surrealism, and other artistic currents. While his formal training was completed at the Yale School of Art and the Art Students League, Morris was most informed by his exposure to the cubist artists of Paris and was committed to the principles of abstraction.

The precision of Morris’s distinct type of abstraction is evident in Composition. Fractured, overlapping shapes of various colors are arranged on the canvas in a kaleidoscopic formation. Texture is suggested in the squares painted as grained wood and the flat, saturated colors of the other forms. Shadows cast by the irregular shapes imply depth in an otherwise two-dimensional canvas. Thin, intersecting lines join the geometric shapes and are flanked by the letters O, B, and C. Paraphrasing Ezra Pound, Morris said that “abstraction should be at least as well painted as realism.”

In this work by George L. K. Morris, fractured, overlapping shapes of various colors are arranged on the canvas in a kaleidoscopic formation.