GEORGE LOVETT KINGSLAND MORRIS (1905–1975)
Oil on canvas, 25 7/8 x 44 3/4 in.
Signed, dated, and inscribed (at lower left): 1934; (at lower right): Morris; (on the back): George L K Morris / Roulade 1934
RECORDED: Melinda A. Lorenz, George L. K. Morris: Artist and Critic (1981), p. 18
EXHIBITED: Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio, 1975, George L. K. Morris: Abstract Art from the 1930s and 1940s
EX COLL.: the artist; to [Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 1972–76]; to [Valery Carberry Gallery, Chicago]; to private collection, Texas, until the present
In 1932, George L. K. Morris met Estelle Condit (Suzy) Frelinghuysen (1911–1988) when the two shared a box at the Metropolitan Opera. Morris, twenty-seven years old, and Frelinghuysen, twenty-one, had more in common than a mutual love of opera. Both came from enormously wealthy families whose preceding generations had played prominent rolls in American history and politics, nationally and locally. Frelinghuysen, from New Jersey, came to New York City to pursue a career as an opera singer. Morris was devoting himself to training as a professional artist. The two courted for three years until January 1935, when they married. Roulade, a Morris oil painting of 1934, is a nod to the world of his fiancée. With its rhythmic interlocking forms and lively shapes and colors playing off each other, it evokes on its canvas the aural experience of a roulade, “a musical embellishment consisting of a rapid succession of tones sung to a single syllable.” A roulade, the vocal embroidery of a single phrase, has historically served to showcase the vocal virtuosity of soprano singers. Frelinghuysen was a soprano.