Murray Dessner, Thoreau

Murray Dessner: Thoreau (1965) Oil on canvas
Oil on canvas
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Luther W. Brady, 2011
38 ½" x 44"

Dessner made Thoreau, the earliest work in this exhibition, when he was a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He described it as a figurative work (hence the rich, pink flesh tones) inspired by Abstract Expres-sionist painter Willem de Kooning. Thoreau was included in Dessner's graduation contribution to the Academy's 1965 Annual Student Exhibition. It was later shown at Locks Gallery and purchased by Dr. Luther W. Brady, who recently donated it to Woodmere. The title recalls American author and poet Henry David Thoreau, best known for his 1854 book Walden, a collection of essays about his efforts to live simply and in harmony with nature.

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