Walter Murch Sought to “Paint the Air” Between His Eye and His Subject

Walter Murch, “Car Heater,” (1957), oil on canvas 21 ½ by 16 ½ inches, (North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh)

On December 11, 1967, after giving a talk at a Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture fundraiser at the River Club in New York City, the 60-year-old Walter Tandy Murch suffered a heart attack and died. At the time, Murch stood at the height of his art fame: He had recently been awarded a Guggenheim and a major traveling show of his work was making its final stop at the Brooklyn Museum.

For the next 50-plus years, Murch’s family and friends sought to produce a monograph on his artwork. With the support of filmmaker George Lucas, who owns an ample collection of Murch’s work, Walter Tandy Murch: Paintings and Drawings, 1925-1967 has finally been realized as a large, handsome coffee-table book featuring generous essays on the enigmatic art by Lucas, the artist’s son Walter Scott Murch, and art historians Robert Storr, Winslow Myers, and Judy Collischan.

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