This catalogue for the Telfair Museum of Art's exhibition, Picturing Savannah: The Art of Christopher A. D. Murphy provides valuable information on Murphy's life and career, documenting four decades of his finest work in all media: oils, watercolors, etchings, and pencil and charcoal drawings.Born in 1902, Murphy was one of Savannah's most accomplished and beloved artists. After studying in New York City at the Art Students League, he returned to his native Savannah. He taught privately at the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences and at Armstrong College (now Armstrong Atlantic State University). In 1929, he helped found the Association of Georgia Artists and in 1947 he collaborated with Walter Hartridge on the book Savannah, providing drawings and etchings of his native city.Just as his success peaked in New York in 1929, the stock market crashed and Murphy found it necessary to return home to his family. Of all the artists who have taken Savannah and its environs as their primary inspiration, Murphy was among the most sensitive and skillful. He knew the city intimately and portrayed it in all its facets - elegant and shabby, rich and poor.
His work ranged from refined portraits of Savannah's elite to spontaneous depictions of African American children, from images of the city's grand homes to renderings of rural farms and shanties. Murphy's work captures a city in flux, a southern town slowly adopting a modern lifestyle. An incipient preservationist, Murphy documented many homes, neighborhoods, and landmarks that no longer exist.Murphy's work was included in annual exhibits of the Southern States Art League and at the American Watercolor Society and was shown nationally and internationally at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Cleveland Print Society, the Philadelphia Print Club, the Brooklyn Society of Etchers, the Savannah Art Club, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He also contributed to such popular publications as "Country Life", "American Architect", "House Beautiful", and "Southern Architect".The show, which is installed at the Telfair Academy from February 6 through June 1, 2008, presents 80-100 works drawn from local private and corporate collections, from the Telfair Museum of Art's nineteen holdings, and from holdings of the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta.