During the 1920s, Murphy began producing the carefully arranged floral still lifes for which he is today best known, a transition some have attributed to his happy second marriage to Nellie Littlehale Umbstaetter. These odes to beauty and to the academic tradition he continued to espouse in the face of more modernist trends found ready collectors when exhibited at the National Academy, the Pennsylvania Academy and with Vose Galleries in 1925 and 1928. In Zinnias, his bold rendering of the titular flowers and other blooms demonstrates his confident use of color as well as his talent for designing a very striking composition by placing the elaborate bouquet in a modest green vase, all set against a subdued fabric backdrop. The painting is complemented by the handsome Arts & Crafts frame, most likely created by the artist himself.
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Collection, Carlisle, Massachusetts
To Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 32666, October 1998
To private collection, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, December
1998 to present
(verso of canvas) ZINNIAS / H. Dudley Murphy / (monogram)
Previous Vose Galleries label, inventory no. 32666