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Murder Mystery

A work made of oil and casein on canvas board.

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  • A work made of oil and casein on canvas board.




Margo Hoff
American, 1912–2008

About this artwork

In Murder Mystery, a reader sits in bed with his head buried in a book, captivated by a presumably gruesome, suspenseful tale. The leisurely pursuit of reading, like the movies, was a popular form of release in the mid-20th century—one that activated the imagination through the vivid arrangement of words rather than images. Chicagoan Margo Hoff created a cocoon-like world—the reader’s domestic space rendered in allover decoration of finely lined patterns and blocks of color. Hoff’s interest in abstraction is visible in these compositional details and she would turn more fully to a nonobjective vocabulary later in her career.


On View, Gallery 263


Arts of the Americas


Margo Hoff


Murder Mystery


Chicago (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil and casein on canvas board


76.2 × 50.8 cm (30 × 20 in.)

Credit Line

Walter M. Campana Memorial Prize Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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