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Stanton Macdonald-Wright


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(b Charlottesville, Va., 8 July 1890; d Pacific Palisades, nr. Los Angeles, 22 Aug. 1973).

American painter, designer, and experimental artist, remembered chiefly as a pioneer of abstract art. In 1907 he moved to Paris, where he met Morgan Russell in 1911; together they evolved Synchromism—a style of painting based on the abstract use of colour. They first exhibited works in this style in 1913 and claimed that they, rather than Delaunay and Kupka (whose work of the time was very similar), were the creators of a new type of abstract art. In 1914–16 Macdonald-Wright lived in London, then returned to the USA. In 1919 he moved to California, where he abandoned Synchromism and became involved with experiments with colour film and various other projects. He was deeply interested in Oriental art and from 1958 he spent part of every year in a Zen monastery in Japan. His brother, Willard Huntington Wright (1888–1939), began his career as an art and literary critic (see Forum Exhibition), but turned to crime fiction in the 1920s: under the pen name S. S. Van Dine, he made a fortune as the author of a series of books featuring the super-sleuth Philo Vance, whose scholarship and urbanity were modelled on his own.

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