Larger Type
Smaller Type

Search Collections

J. Francis Murphy Portrait

J. Francis Murphy

Also Known as: John Francis Murphy

Oswego, New York 1853

New York, New York 1921

Photo Caption:
J. Francis Murphy, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0001908


Landscape painter, largely self-taught. Born in Oswego, N.Y., he made the native contryside his subject matter. His early work was Barbizon influenced; the later, more popular, work was tonalist in style. His reputation declined considerably in the 1930s and 1940s.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995)

Additional Biographies

Luce Artist Biography

J. Francis Murphy began his career as a sign painter in Chicago, but his supervisors thought him lazy and dismissed him. Rather than stay in Chicago, he moved to New York, where he rented a studio in the city. From there he traveled around Orange County, New Jersey, hiring himself out as a painting teacher. Murphy enjoyed a successful career exhibiting his landscape paintings in New York. In the words of one contemporary critic, he was “content with a most simple life and environment . . . never sacrificed his artistic integrity, but . . . was happy indeed that he could make his living by producing these little pictures of his fancy.” (Eliot Clark, 1926, quoted in Burke, “J. Francis Murphy,” American Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. III, 1980)