In 1922, upon discovering the Cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, and Juan Gris in the window of a Paris gallery, Murphy told his wife, "If this is painting, then this is what I want to do." Soon after, he ended his career as a landscape architect and turned to painting. In Wasp and Pear, Murphy combined an abstract background with an anatomically detailed but highly stylized wasp, pear, leaf, and honeycomb. Murphy credited "the large technically drawn and colored charts of fruits, vegetables . . . [and] insects" in a classroom where he had studied during his military training as his inspiration. He painted only fourteen known works, seven of which remain.