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"Dahlias"circa 1919 -- Private Collection
Photo of the Artist
Artist Biography: Stanton MacDonald-Wright [1890-1973]
Stanton MacDonals-Wright was born in Charlottesville, VA on July 8, 1890. Once as a child, Stanton ran away from home on a windjammer. When his father became manager of the Arcadia Hotel on the coast at Santa Monica, he moved with his family to California in 1900. He hyphenated his last name with Macdonald to avoid being ask if he was related to the architect or the aviators.
His art studies were begun locally with Warren Hedges and Joseph Greenbaum. In 1909 he journeyed to Paris for further study at the Sorbonne, Académies 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. Upon returning to the U.S. in 1916, MacDonald-Wright was active on the East Coast until his return to Los Angeles in 1918. He then turned from Synchromism to a more oriental approach to art, and produced the first full-length stop-motion film ever made in full color.
He was director of the Arts Student League of Los Angeles from 1923-30. During the 1930s he served as regional advisor for seven states on the WPA art program. From 1942-52 he taught oriental aesthetics, art history, and iconography at UCLA. Upon retirement, he devoted full time to painting, dividing 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, "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 Aug. 22, 1973.
Exh: American Modernists (LA), 1920; Calif. WC Society, 1923-25; LACMA, 1927, 1932, 1956; Art Center School (LA), 1941; North Carolina Museum, 2001 (retrospective). In: Brooklyn Museum; LACMA; MM; CGA; AIC; Carnegie Inst.; Detroit Inst. of Arts; Boston Museum; Oakland Museum; MOMA; Walker Art Center (Minneapolis); San Diego Museum; Pasadena Art Inst.; Orange Co. (CA) Museum; Santa Monica City Hall, High School and Public Library; Whitney Museum (NYC); Thomas Edison Jr. High School (LA).
Source: Archives of Askart Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940" Los Angeles Times, 7-27-1930; Who's Who in American Art 1938-70; Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); Who's Who in California 1942; American Art Review, April 2001.