Title: Fish Assuming the Form of Consciousness
Gouache on paper
Dimensions: Image: 6 1/8 x 10 7/8 inches (15.6 x 27.6 cm)
Dr. and Mrs. Milton Lurie Kramer, Class of 1936, Collection;
Bequest of Helen Kroll Kramer
Object Number: 77.062.013
Graves’s work, like Mark Tobey’s, was greatly influenced by Eastern spiritualism, aestheticism, and philosophy. After dropping out of high school, he traveled with his brother as a steamship hand for the American Mail Line, which stopped at every major point in Asia. His response to Japan was immediate and electric: “I at once had the feeling that this was the right way to do everything. It was the acceptance of nature not the resistance to it. I had no sense that I was to be a painter, but I breathed a different air.” Graves, as a conscientious objector, spent eleven months in prison during World War II. In 1945 he was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship to go to Japan but was prevented from entering the country by postwar restrictions. (“JapanAmerica: Points of Contact, 1876–1970," curated by Nancy E. Green and presented at the Johnson Museum August 27–December 18, 2016)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.