May 22 Art Minute: Stanton MacDonald–Wright, Synchromy Blue–Green

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Stanton MacDonald-Wright (American, 1890–1973), Synchromy Blue-Green. Oil on canvas, 1916. 36 1/16 by 28 1/16 inches. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1996.19. Gallery 3

Stanton MacDonald-Wright (American, 1890–1973), Synchromy Blue-Green. Oil on canvas, 1916. 36 1/16 by 28 1/16 inches. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1996.19. Gallery 3

“I strive to divest my art of all anecdote and illustrations and to purify it so that the emotions of the spectator can become entirely ‘aesthetic,’ as in listening to music.” —Stanton MacDonald-Wright, 1916

Synchromy Blue-Green encapsulates Stanton MacDonald-Wright’s interest in color theory and pure abstraction. MacDonald-Wright and a fellow American artist, Morgan Russell, founded an art movement call Synchromy (meaning “with color”) in 1913. Drawing on color theories, the movement was to be the next logical progression from Cubism. The artists strove to move beyond mere abstraction of figures and objects to arrive at a purified expression of ideas through color.

The burst of warm orange and red—the focal point in the upper center of the composition—seems to be a beacon of light or a musical crescendo rising from the shadows of the neighboring planes of cooler colors. The flat, satiny paint hardly reveals the work of the artist’s hand, which allows us to concentrate on our aesthetic and emotional response to this symphony of color.


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