Donald Alexander Mackay Biography

Donald Alexander Mackay



Donald Alexander Mackay, painter, printmaker, and illustrator, was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on August 13, 1914.  He grew up in Boston and attended the Massachusetts College of Art.  He worked as a designer in the plastics division of the E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company until the onset of the Depression. 

Mackay served in the United States Army during World War II and after the war he spent a year studying at the American Academy in Biarritz, France. He settled in New York and found employment at an artist studio in Greenwich Village. He married fellow artist Stella DaCosta and they went to Mexico to study graphics with Alfredo Zalce at the University of Morelia. Mackay later studied lithography and etching at the Pratt Institute Center for Contemporary Printmaking.

He worked as a freelance commercial artist during the 1950s.  His fascination with an excavation of a bank site on Wall Street ultimately resulted in his book, The Building of Manhattan, published by Harper & Row in 1987.  Mackay also illustrated children's books, and produced drawings related to the White House, the Metropolitan Opera, and space flights.

Mackay was a member and exhibited with the American Watercolor Society, the Silvermine Guild of Artists, and the Society of American Graphic Artists. He had solo exhibitions at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and Briarcliff College, Briarcliff Manor, New York.

Donald Alexander Mackay died in Frederick, Maryland on December 17, 2005.