Morgan Russell (1886-1953)
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Morgan Russell was an American abstract painter, born in New York City. Russell and fellow painter, Stanton Macdonald co-founded “Synchromism”, a sub-category of the Modernist art movement.
In 1903 Russell initiated his studies in an architecture program, but quickly changed his concentration to sculpture. Russell made various contacts at the Art Students League of New York, studying and posing as a model for Arthur Lee and James Earle Fraser. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney financed Russell’s trip to Paris in 1906.
On a second trip to Paris in 1909, Russell had the opportunity to study with Matisse. During the following years, Russell developed his own techniques of using color and pattern. By 1911 Russell had teamed up with Stanton Macdonald Wright, with whom he began to form the Synchromist movement. The two artists organized their first Synchromist exhibit at Der Neue Kunstsalon in Munich, Germany. Following shows were held at the Galerie Bernheim in Paris and at the Armory Show in New York.
Synchromism is defined as a pure form of abstract painting, which does not contain identifiable, representational forms. The Synchromist manifesto links the transcendent powers of color and music. Other artists who experimented with early Synchromism included Thomas Hart Benton, Andrew Dasburg, Patrick Henry Bruce. A similar movement known as Orphism complimented Synchromism.
Russell spent most of his time from 1909 to 1946 living and working in Paris. Near the time of his death, Russell returned to America and spent his last days in Philadelphia. Russell’s paintings are now in American art collections across the country. Do you think you own a Synchromist painting by Morgan Russell? Contact us. We are the Morgan Russell experts.