|Stanton MacDonald-Wright |
|click image to enlarge|
Oil on Board
20 x 24 inches
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Stanton Macdonald-Wright was born in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 1890. A problem child and difficult student, Macdonald-Wright ran away from home on a windjammer and was brought home by private detectives sent by his father. In 1900, when his father became manager of the Arcadia Hotel on the coast at Santa Monica, he moved with his family to California. His art studies were begun locally at the Art Students League and with Joseph Greenbaum. In 1907, he journeyed to Paris for further study at the Sorbonne, Academies Julian, Beaux Arts, and Colarossi. In Paris, he and artist Morgan Russell developed an art style which they termed "Synchromism" in which color generates form. They co-exhibited in Paris and Munich in 1913 and New York in 1914. After returning to the United States in 1916, Macdonald-Wright was active on the East Coast until his return to California in 1919.
Settling in Los Angeles, he turned from Synchromism to a more oriental approach to art. He also produced the first full-length stop-motion film ever made in full color. He was director of the Art Students League of Los Angeles from 1923-1930. During the 1930s, he served as regional advisor for seven states on the Works Progress Administration art program. One of his commissions for the Works Progress Administration was the large mural in the Santa Monica Public Library. From 1942-1952 he taught oriental aesthetics, art history, and iconography at University of California Los Angeles.
After his retirement, he was devoted full time to painting. He divided his time between Kyoto, Japan and his home in Santa Monica. His work alternated throughout his career between pure abstractions and figural representations. Eugen Neuhaus put it succinctly in his History and Ideals of American Art, "Macdonald-Wright apparently attempts to correlate music with painting, as indicated in his emphasis upon strongly moving dynamic rhythms clothed in the hues of the spectrum" A pioneer in modern art, Macdonald-Wright died in Los Angeles on August 22, 1973.
Exhibited: American Modernists (LA), 1920; Calif. WC Society, 1923-25; LACMA, 1927, 1932, 1956; Art Center School (LA), 1941; North Carolina Museum, 2001 (retrospective).
Works held: Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum; Corcoran Gallery of Art; Carnegie Institute; Detroit Institute; Boston Museum; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Pasadena Art Institute; San Diego Museum; Santa Monica City Hall, High School and Public Library; Oakland Museum; Thomas Edison Jr. High School, Los Angeles.
Hughes, Edan M. Artists In California 1786-1940. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Sacramento: Crocker, Art Museum, 2002. N. pag. 2 vols. Print.