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"Color, Myth, and Music:Stanton Macdonald-Wright and Synchromism"
2001-08-05 until 2001-10-28
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Color, Myth and Music: Stanton Macdonald-Wright and Synchromism examines the evolution of his art from his important Synchromist works, continuing with his masterful Asian-influenced paintings, and offering a selection of the stunning synchromies painted in the final years of his life. The exhibition includes more than 60 works spanning six decades.

Among his many accomplishments, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, along with fellow American painter Morgan Russell, fathered the Synchromism movement. Convinced that color and sound were equivalent phenomena and that one could orchestrate the colors in a painting the way a composer arranged notes and chords in a musical composition, they developed a system of painting based on color scales. The system entailed constructing form and depth in a painting through advancing and reducing hues. Their ensuing synchromies were some of the first abstract non-objective paintings in American art.

Leaving his California home behind, Macdonald-Wright arrived in Paris in 1907 and immediately began attending classes at the Sorbonne and studying painting at several traditional academies. Feeling that these schools stifled his creativity, he soon abandoned them in favor of the radical new approaches of Cubism, Fauvism, Futurism, and Orphism that were being developed to challenge traditional art. It was at that time that he met Morgan Russell and was introduced to Matisse, Rodin, Percyval Tudor-Hart, a Canadian painter and color theorist, and collectors Gertrude and Leo Stein. Macdonald-Wright and Russell exhibited their new aesthetic first in Munich, then in Paris in 1913, and the following year in New York. Synchromism became the first American avant-garde movement presented in the international arena.

IMAGE:
Stanton Macdonald-Wright
Yin Synchromy, No. 3, 1930
Oil on canvas, 34 x 40 1/4 in.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California
Gift of Mrs. John D. Graham


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