About This Artwork

Morris Kantor
American, born Russia (now Belarus), 1896–1974

Haunted House, 1930

Oil on canvas
94.3 x 84.5 cm (37 1/8 x 33 1/4 in.)
Signed and dated lower right: M. Kantor / 1930

Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize Fund, 1931.707

As an evocative mingling of the real and supernatural, Haunted House inflects the American past with eerie overtones. Morris Kantor, a Russian-born immigrant, was inspired by the colonial houses he encountered during summers in New England. Here he painted the living room of an early American house, yet his rendering takes on a suggestion of Surrealism through his inclusion of ominous black shadows—in the shape of a ghostly figure at the right—that encroach upon the room. Kantor depicted the surrounding houses in the inky depths of these forms, bringing the dark night into the brightly lit room. Their presence transforms a nostalgic interior into a space of mystery and uncertainty.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Art Institute of Chicago, Forty-Fourth Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture, October 29-December 13, 1931, cat. 97, pl. 97 (Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Medal).

Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings by Morris Kantor, December 22, 1931-January 17, 1932, no cat.

Art Institute of Chicago, A Century of Progress Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1-November 1, 1933, cat. 573.

Art Institute of Chicago, A Century of Progress Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, June 1-November 1, 1934, cat. 601.

New York, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery, Art of Today, January 3-31, 1936. Late loan, not in catalogue but confirmed by archival documentation.

Art Institute of Chicago, Half a Century of American Art, November 16, 1939-January 7, 1940, cat. 88, pl. XLVII.

New York, Museum of Modern Art, Romantic Painting in America, November 15, 1943-February 16, 1944, ; traveled to Milwaukee Art Institute, March 3-31, 1944; Northampton, Massachusetts, Smith College Museum of Art, April 15-June 20, 1944; San Francisco Museum of Art, August 15-September 17, 1944; Oregon, Portland Art Museum, October 1-29, 1944; Seattle Art Museum, November 10-December 10, 1944; City Museum of St. Louis, January 2-30, 1945; University Gallery, University of Minnesota, February 13-March 13, 1945; St. Paul Gallery and School of Art, April 1-29, 1945, cat. 19, ill.

Ohio, Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Twelve Contemporary Americans, October 4-November 13, 1945, unnumbered checklist.

London, The Tate Gallery, American Painting for the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day, June-July 1946, cat. 126.

Iowa, Davenport Municipal Art Gallery, Morris Kantor Retrospective, June 3-27, 1965, cat. 4.

Columbus, Ohio State University, America, October 13-31, 1968, no cat.

Reno, Sierra Nevada Museum of Art, 1931 America: The Artist’s View, September 12-October 30, 1982, traveled to San Diego State University, November 20-December 18, 1982, unnumbered checklist.

Art Institute of Chicago, "America After the Fall: Painting in the 1930s," June 5-September 18, 2016; travels to Paris, Musee de l'Orangerie, October 15, 2016-January 30, 2017; London, Royal Academy, February 25-June 4, 2017, cat. 28.

Publication History

"'Odd' Painting Wins 1st Prize at Show Here," Chicago Daily News, Month illeg. 29, 1931. Probably Oct.

Eleanor Jewett, "Fine Statues on Display at Art Institute," Chicago Tribune, Oct. 20, 1931.

Eleanor Jewett, American Exhibition at Institute: Jury Awards First Prize of $2,500 to Morris Kantor for His Canvas, 'Haunted House,'" Chicago Tribune, Nov. 1, 1931, p. G4.

"Chicago's Annual Draws Eyes of Fighters for American Art," Art Digest 6, 3 (Nov. 1, 1931), pp. 3-4, ill. p. 3.

“Paintings by Morris Kantor,” Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 25, 9 (December 1931), cover ill., p. 127.

C. J. Bulliet, "Art Institute of Chicago Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture," Creative Art 9 (December 1931), pp. 493-5, ill. p. 493.

"The Forty-fourth Annual at Chicago," American Magazine of Art 23 (Dec. 1931), p. 487, ill. p. 486.

Daniel Catton Rich, “Fifty Years at Chicago,” Magazine of Art 32, 12 (December 1939), p. 721.

Morris Kantor, "Ends and Means," Magazine of Art, 33 (March 1940), ill. p. 143.

Anita Ventura, “The Paintings of Morris Kantor,” Arts 30, 7 (May 1956), p. 31.

Matthew Baigell, "The Beginnings of 'The American Wave' and the Depression," Art Journal 27, 4 (Summer 1968), pp. 391-92, ill. p. 392.

Matthew Baigell, The American Scene: American Painting of the 1930's (Praeger Publishers, 1974), p. 21, ill. 7, p. 22.

Judith A. Barter et al., "American Modernism at the Art Institute of Chicago, From World War I to 1955," (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2009), cat. 80.

Ownership History

The artist; purchased by the Art Institute in 1931.

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