The hat tip I extended to comics historian Allan Holtz for his research on Caro-Graphics was inadequate to begin with. Now Allan has added to his Stripper’s Guide blog a fascinating — and surprising — profile of Murray Jones Jr., primary artist for the 1930s newspaper panel depicting a predigital North Carolina miscellany.
Jones, we learn, was a son of a Wilson tobacco buyer, attended Duke, earned an MFA at the Art Institute of Chicago, studied in Japan on a Fulbright fellowship, served on the faculties of Michigan State and Ohio State and in 1964 died of multiple schlerosis at age 49. One critic in 1959 referred to him as “a brilliant American abstractionist [who] drew from the traditions of Oriental art.”
In 2005 a gallery in Yellow Springs, Ohio, exhibited his work alongside ceramics and drawings by his son (and gallery co-owner) Michael. Murray Jones’ work in the 1940s was recalled as having been “immersed in the influences of surrealism as a vehicle for social commentary, and as a vehicle for engaging the subconscious….” In the early 1950s he adopted automotive lacquer as his paint medium of choice and began experimenting with collage elements in his paintings.
Thank you, Allan, for rediscovering Murray Jones’ surprising — and too-brief — career arc.
Addendum: Allan credits his colleague Alex Jay with the Jones bio.