American Paintings and Sculpture
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Artist: Gerald Murphy, American, 1888–1964, B.A. 1912

Bibliothèque (Library)


Oil on canvas

72 1/2 × 52 5/8 in. (184.15 × 133.668 cm)
Purchased with a gift from Alice Kaplan in memory of Allan S. Kaplan, B.A. 1957, and with the Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., Class of 1913, Fund
In the 1920s, Yale-educated Gerald Murphy, a member of the circle of European and American expatriates in France, astonished critics with his paintings of machines and American consumer products. Of the seven surviving paintings from his career of less than a decade, Bibliothèque is the most personal. Rendered in colors that recall leathers from the Murphy family’s Mark Cross Company, it incorporates references to his father’s library. In an era of change and uncertainty following the First World War, Bibliothèque portrays a world of timeless values—literature, classical architecture, and philosophy.
Probably made in Paris, France, Europe
On view
20th century

Gerald Murphy (1888–1964), Paris, 1926; William M. (1916–1988) and Honoria Murphy Donnelley (1917–1998), to 1986; Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 1986; SBC Communications, Inc., Texas, collection of twentieth-century art, 1986–2006; sold to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2006


Deborah Rothschild, ed., Making It New: The Art and Style of Sara and Gerald Murphy, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007), 59, 63–64, 84, 101, 114, 140–41, ill.

“Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006): 206, ill.

Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2007), 253, 401, pl. 240.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.