Donald A. Mackay Biography

Donald A. 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. Upon graduation he was hired as a designer in the plastics division of the E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company until the onset of the Depression led to his termination, and he took freelance work where he could find it. 

During World War II Mackay served in the army in the European theater, and following his tour of duty 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, where he met and married fellow artist Stella DaCosta. Together, they traveled to Mexico to study graphic arts 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.