Born Melbourne, Australia 1903, died Melbourne 1992
A teacher, painter and printmaker, Murray Griffin studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne (1919–23). During this time he developed a reputation for his colourful, modernist style linocuts. However, he considered himself first and foremost a painter, and spent considerable time in the countryside sketching landscapes which would later be worked into paintings in the studio.
During World War II Griffin was appointed an official war artist. Posted to Singapore in 1941. Griffin’s unit was captured by the Japanese and held in Changi prisoner of war camp for three and a half years. Griffin completed 230 works during this time, which depict their lives and the struggle to survive.
After the war Griffin returned to teach in Melbourne at the National Gallery School, and later at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology from 1953 to 1968. He painted around the Heidelberg and Yarra River areas, and travelled, particularly to north-eastern Victoria, on landscape painting excursions in a desire to express a spirit of place through the design of the composition, rather than an accurate representation.
Griffin’s work has been included in the exhibitions The Art of War, RMIT (1997), Federation: Australian Art and Society 1901–2001, National Gallery of Australia and touring (2000–02), and has been the subject of a retrospective at Castlemaine Regional Gallery (2001). His work is held in the collections of the Australian War Memorial, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Art Galleries of South Australia and New South Wales, and the Ballarat and Geelong regional galleries.