Morris Blackburn

Biography

Morris Blackburn was born in Philadelphia and spent his career in the city. After schooling at the Philadelphia Trade School and work in the Hog Island shipbuilding yard, he began his art training in 1922 at the Graphic Sketch Club. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1925 to 1929, winning two Cresson Traveling Scholarships. In the mid-1930s he participated in the Public Works Art Project, executing murals for the Mastbaum Vocational School and Haverford High School. He began his long teaching career in 1932 at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art. Around 1936-37 Blackburn attended the private classes of Arthur B. Charles, who became his close friend and mentor.

He worked in a wide variety of media, using Philadelphia or New Jersey scenes as his subjects. His style emphasized strong compositional elements, and often recalled his early concern with abstraction. He was the subject of several films. “Portrait of a Painter” was completed in 1959 by Emidio Angelo. “South Jersey Sketchbook” was made for Channel 52 in Philadelphia, and “Time-Binding,” a film about his teaching and painting methods, was in progress during the last years of his life.

The above biography was excerpted from the lengthier information in Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art, (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976), pp. 584-86. Morris Blackburn: participation in regional exhibitions (other than the annual exhibitions) at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. All catalogues available from the PAFA Archives.

Works of Art (PAFA's Collection)

Drawings and Watercolors

Self-Portrait

Factory No. 2

Factory No. 2

Self-Portrait

Group

Group

Group

Group

Group

Group

Study for

Study for "Appalachian Spring"

study for

Study for "Appalachian Spring"

 Study for

Study for "Appalachian Spring", Theme B-II)

Arroyo Hondo (New Mexico)

Arroyo Hondo (New Mexico)

Hondo Valley (Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico)

Hondo Valley (Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico)

Abstract still life

[Abstract still life]

 Study for

Study for "Appalachian Spring" (Capehart Advertisement)

Study for "Appalachian Spring" (Capehart Advertisement)

[Still-life]

[Still-life]

Study for

Study for "Lines, Textures and Space"

 Study of

Study of "Lines, Textures and Space"

Study for

Study for "Lines, Textures and Space"

 [Abandoned dock]

[Abandoned dock]

 [Abstract still life]

[Abstract still life]

[Abstracted female figure in a landscape]

[Abstracted female figure in a landscape]

 [Abstraction]

[Abstraction]

 [Elephant]

[Elephant]

[Figure in a surrealist landscape]

[Figure in a surrealist landscape]

 [Hand]

[Hand]

 [Harbor scene]

[Harbor scene]

[Industrial scene]

[Industrial scene]

[Landscape: Taos sunset]

[Landscape: Taos sunset]

 [Merinae State Park]

[Merinae State Park]

 Study for

Study for "Jersey Shore"

[Street scene]

[Street scene]

 [Wharf scene with debris]

[Wharf scene with debris]

Paintings

 Seated Nude

Seated Nude

 Taxco

Taxco

appalachian Spring

Appalachian Spring I

Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore

Lines, Textures and Space

Lines, Textures and Space

Mast and Lines

Mast and Lines

 Untitled (Abstract Figure)

Untitled (Abstract Figure)

 Untitled (Standing Nude)

Untitled (Standing Nude)

Prints

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

 Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

 Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

 Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

 Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

 Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

Landscape Forms

Landscape Forms

Wellfleet

Wellfleet

[Abstract figure]

[Abstract figure]

Archival records at PAFA

Video

Morris Blackburn, Legacy of an Artist by John Thorton

Exhibitions at PAFA

1930 #464. Still Life

1939 #16. Figure: Sally-Jo; #30. Figure

1940 #383. Landscape

1942 #392. Still Life

1943 #302. Edith Saunders

1944 #345. Fisherman's House

1945 #1. Still Life

1946 #266. Abstraction

1947 #153. Gloucester

1948 #252. Still Life with Mask

1949 #319. Jersey Shore

1950 #263. Night Lights

1951 #146. Rocks and Docks

1952 #185. Barnegat Framed

1953 #158. Dock and Debris

1954 #152. Lobster Dock

1956 #226. Billboard

1958 #38. Golgotha

1959 #340. The Fountain (water color and gouache) $300.00; #341. The Mission - Taxco (gouache) $300.00; #342. Taxco (water color) $400.00

1960 #23. Adobe

1962 #33. Sangre De Christo

1964 #2. New Mexico Landscape

1966 #124. Corson's

1968 #22. Fog in Maine

1969 #198. The Rock (Sumi ink) $300.00; #199. Cherry Tree (Sumi ink) $300.00; #200. Red WIllow (Sumi ink) $300.00

1926 #437. Venture Inn. (Carbon pencil)

1929 #825. Theix; Brittany (Water color); #829. VIlle Close; Concarneau No. 1 (Water color)

1946 #465. Space Cone (Gouache)

1948 #124. Vartiation on a Theme (Gouache) $250.00; #126. Lyric Abstraction (Gouache) $250.00; #127. Vertical Pivot (Gouache) $250.00

1952 #287. Docks and Masts (Gouache) $200.00; #291. Space in Rocky Neck (Gouache) $200.00

1953 #219. Nets and Masts (Gouache) $250.00; #220. Port Side (Gouache) $250.00

Paintings, Drawings, and Prints by Morris Blackburn, March 11-April 17, 1966

9 Members of Academy Faculty: Paintings, drawings and sculpture by Oliver Grimley; Adolph Dioda; Karl Karhumaa; Kim Sou; Tom Ewing; Alan Goldstein; Warren Rohrer; Morris Blackburn and Julian Levi, May 19 – July 31, 1971

Morris Blackburn Memorial Exhibition, January 9-30, 1980

Morris Blackburn: Paintings, June 4-16, 1946

Regional Exhibition of Oil Painting and Sculpture Philadelphia and Vicinity, March 10 – April 8, 1951

Philadelphia Water Color Club, 38th Annual Exhibition of Work by Members, October 15 – November 20, 1955

Private Collections of Fourteen Philadelphia Artists, November 7 – December 6, 1959

Fellowship Annual Exhibition of Oil Paintings and Sculpture, Water Colors, Pastels and Prints, March 16- April 7, 1946

Fellowship Annual Exhibition, March 8 – April 8, 1956. Fish Out (engraving and etching)

Morris Blackburn - PAFA Modernist, works 1939-1949, February 15 - April 21, 2013


PAFA Prizes/Awards

1928 - PAFA Cresson Traveling Scholarship

1929 - PAFA Cresson Traveling Scholarship

1946 - Gold Medal Award, Fellowship Annual Exhibition of Oil Paintings and Sculpture, Water Colors, Pastels and Prints (Still Life - Flowers)

1949 - Fellowship Prize

1951 - Harrison S. Morris Memorial Prize – Street Scene (oil), Regional Exhibition of Oil Painting and Sculpture Philadelphia and Vicinity (March 10 – April 8, 1951)

1955 - Thorton Oakley Memorial Prize – Lobster Buoys (casein), Philadelphia Water Color Club, 38th Annual Exhibition of Work by Members, October 15 – November 20, 1955

1956 - Honorable Mention, Fish Out (engraving and etching), Fellowship Annual Exhibition, March 8 – April 8, 1956)

1959 - M. V. Zimmerman Memorial Prize – Taos Mountains, Philadelphia Water Color Club, 42nd Annual Exhibition, October 16 – November 15, 1959

1969 - The Philadelphia Watercolor Club Medal of Award, 164th Annual Exhibition of Water Colors, Prints, and Drawings, January 17 – March 2, 1969

Teaching at PAFA

The job of the teacher is to open doors. The good student will pass through the door and add to his own body of knowledge. - Morris Blackburn

Blackburn had a long teaching career at PAFA, dedicating nearly three decades teaching students in various mediums:

Blackburn class
Blackburn class
Blackburn class

Click here to view more images of Blackburn teaching students.

Model Stand Chats (transcribed and edited by Marie Maber)