Murray Dessner

Murray Dessner (1934-2012) was an American artist. A painter of large scale, luminous, non-objective acrylic works on canvas, he studied at the Fleisher Art Memorial and The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he later taught for many years.

Dimensions and Light on YouTube

“Dimensions and Light”

An interview with Murray by Margot Barringer at one of his solo exhibitions at the Peng Gallery in Philadelphia.


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Murray Dessner's Wonderful Journey on YouTube

Murray Dessner’s Wonderful Journey

A short film by former student John Thornton that offers a glimpse of Murray’s life and work, in which he shares insights about his journey through life, love, nature, and art.


The family and friends of Murray Dessner have established an endowment at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Murray’s name. The Murray Dessner Memorial Graduate Travel Prize is the first endowed travel prize for the Graduate Program at PAFA. It is a significant annual prize for a student selected by the Graduate faculty at the Annual Student Exhibition. Contributions may be sent to PAFA’s Office of Development, 128 North Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19102-1424. Please add the note “Murray Dessner Travel Prize” to the contribution. Gifts to the Dessner Prize may also be made on-line at