Stanton MacDonald-Wright

Stanton MacDonald-Wright
Standing Nude from the Back with Leg Raised
Pencil on paper, 1931
12 x 9 inches
Courtesy of Tobey C. Moss Gallery
Value: $600
Starting bid: $300
Minimum bid increment: $50

About the artist
Stanton Macdonald-Wright (1890-1973) was an artist, art historian, teacher, leader, and intellectual force within the Los Angeles modernist community. After studying at the Art Students League of Los Angeles, he continued his studies in Paris. There he met fellow artist Morgan Russell and together they formulated the theory of “synchromism,” asserting that color was an abstract medium capable of conveying light, space, and form. The two first exhibited together as synchromists in June 1913 in Munich and again a few months later in Paris; they also showed the following year in New York. In 1919, after a period living and working in New York, Macdonald-Wright returned to Southern California. He maintained a residence in the Los Angeles area for the rest of his life, becoming the area’s dean of modernist art. He directed the Art Students League of Los Angeles for most of the twenties and during that decade experimented with color film, an extension of his interest in colored light. From the mid-1920s through the1930s he explored subjective composition, combining cubistic and synchromist elements.

About the work
Macdonald-Wright preferred to base even his color abstractions on the human figure, which remained a central theme of his art. He and Morgan Russell both greatly admired the work of Michelangelo and tended to treat the figure in massive, heavily rounded, Michelangelesque terms.

Selected collections

  • Brooklyn Museum of Art
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Selected exhibitions 

  • Stanton Macdonald-Wright and His Circle, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2003
  • Color, Myth and Music: Stanton Macdonald-Wright and Synchromism, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Houston Museum of Art, 2001
  • Synchromism and American Color Abstraction 1910–1925, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1978

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