Stanton Macdonald Wright Biography

Stanton Macdonald Wright




Stanton Macdonald Wright, painter, writer and lecturer, was born in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 8, 1890. When he was ten years of age his family relocated to Santa Monica, California. Stanton studied art at the Art Students’ League of Los Angeles but moved to Paris in 1907 to continue his studies and immerse himself in the bohemian lifestyle.

He studied the Sorbonne, where he came under the influence of Henri Focillion who introduced him to Oriental art and philosophy. Macdonald Wright also studied at the Grande Chaumiere, the Julian Academy and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Macdonald Wright traveled extensively in 1911. He met fellow ex-patriot Morgan Russell who introduced him to the English color theorist and painter, Percyval Tudor-Harte. Together they studied his color theories and developed Synchromism—a color based style that linked emotion to color.  In 1913, the pair of artists mounted exhibitions of their work in Munich and Paris.

World War I forced his return to the states in 1915 where he settled in New York working for three years before returning to Los Angeles. Macdonald Wright organized the seminal exhibition, Paintings by American Modernists, in Los Angeles at what is now the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Besides painting and printmaking, Macdonald Wright worked with film, experimented with light, co-authored with his brother, Wilbur, Modern Art: Its Tendency and Meaning, and was an influential teacher. In 1923 his career in teaching commenced at the Art Students’ League of Los Angeles and he became Professor of Oriental Art History, Aesthetics and Iconography at the University of California-Los Angeles. He also taught at the University of Hawaii, University of Southern California, Scripps College, and in Tokyo.