Note: There is very little bio info out there about this obscure artist, Matthew “Matt” Morgan, Jr. (The Younger) but have done my best to piece together as much about him as I could as many of his paintings & illustrations often get misattributed to his father, Matthew “Matt” Somerville Morgan (The Elder, British-American, 1839-1890)
Matthew “Matt” Morgan, Jr. (American, b. 19thC.-d. aft. 1914) was born to the well-known listed illustrator, cartoonist, lithographer & ceramicist, Matthew “Matt” Somerville Morgan (British-American, 1839-1890) who married twice; once at an early age and then remarried to his second wife in Canada during the 1880’s, one of which was Elizabeth S. Morgan (-1903). Between the two marriages it was a large family of sixteen children, eleven of which were boys, the rest girls.
Most of the Morgan children were also artists themselves, some of whom went on to have successful careers in the arts, to include: Political cartoonist and painter, Fred Morgan, theater scenic painter Reginald “Regi” Morgan, military & historical illustrator & painter, Matt Morgan, Jr., scenery painter, caricaturist & theater actor, Beatrice “Bertie” Morgan who also illustrated for TRUTH, Life and Once a Week, and painter, Senor Don Enrique Triane Timateo Morgan who had been born in Spain and had taken the name of a grand duke who had befriended his parents. Interestingly, after the passing of her husband in 1890, Elizabeth Morgan petitioned the courts who allowed her to change her name to the exact name of her husband’s “Matt Morgan” in 1893, in order to protect his reputation and rights to his artwork. She did so as a result of the unscrupulous acts of certain managers and dealers who had been signing his name to paintings and scenery that he never painted, at the detriment of his reputation and value of his artwork.
His son, Matt Morgan, Jr. painted and also illustrated for several well-known publications and newspapers of the time to include, Ainslee’s Magazine, TRUTH magazine, The Illustrated American and Home and Country and whose artwork has been and still is often misattributed to that of his father—even after his father died in 1890... At the end of the Cuban War of Independence and start of the Spanish-American War, Matt Jr. had spent many months in Cuba where he painted military subjects and battle scenes, and several of which were published in issues of TRUTH and also Ainslee’s Magazine in 1898. Matt Jr. married twice and his first wife, Mary Turnure-Morgan died around 1913, and in 1914, he remarried to, Lillian “Ilona” Goldlust-Morgan (-1949), a pianist and who was also a cousin to his first wife. Matt Jr. usually signed his artwork with either Matt Morgan, Jr. or M. Morgan. Some old references have sometimes listed his full name as either, Matthew S. Morgan, Jr. and also Matthew R. Morgan.
(Written & compiled by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, meibohmfinearts.com)