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A gorgeous early oil on canvas by Arizona artist Merrill Mahaffey—signed lower left and inscribed 'Painted March 1960 Glenwood Springs Colorado' on the reverse (although dated '64 next to the signature).  The painting's title, "Desert Sunset", is written in ballpoint on the wood of the stretcher.  Its abstract style is characteristic of Mahaffey's earliest work; the later landscapes for which he is more generally known exhibit a thoroughgoing realism.

MERRILL DEAN MAHAFFEY Merrill Mahaffey was born in 1937 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  By age 8 he was already creating colored pencil drawings of the landscapes near his family home in Grand Junction, Colorado.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Sacramento State University in 1959 and his Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State University in 1965.  Mahaffey taught design and art history at the Phoenix College from 1967 until 1983.  His reputation as a landscape painter in Arizona began developing in the early 70's.  His work evolved from an early abstract style into his present realism and reflects the best traditions of American landscape painting—rendering certain basic, yet complex, relationships in nature with a visionary technique that is uniquely his own.  The same expansive, panoramic quality found in his paintings can be seen in his lithographs and serigraphs.  Mahaffey's work has won numerous prizes and been shown at the Denver Art Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  His painting "Toroweap" hangs in the Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian.  A book about Mahaffey titled "Monumental Landscapes" by Rudy Turk, with a forward by Arizona's Governor Bruce Babbitt, was published by Northland Press.  Mahffey's largest commission was awarded by the City of Phoenix for a 7' x 20' painting titled "Panorama From Bright Angel Point."  It is displayed at the Phoenix International Sky Harbor Airport terminal.

Production Year – 1960

Country of Origin – USA


Attribution – SIGNED



Condition – VERY GOOD (no defects; may show slight traces of use)

Height (in.) – 18.5

Width (in.) – 27.0

Quantity Available – 1