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John McLaughlin papers, 1922-1979, bulk bulk 1936-1976

McLaughlin, John, 1898-,

Collection Information

Size: 3.4 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of Southern California art dealer and abstract painter John McLaughlin measure 3.4 linear feet and date from 1922 to 1979. The collection documents John McLaughlin's personal life and career through biographical material, correspondence, writings, Tamarind Lithography fellowship files, scattered personal business records, printed materials, artwork, and photographic material.
Biographical material includes McLaughlin's military service records, art awards, and resumes. Correspondence is with friends, artists, museums, and galleries. Notable correspondents include Eugene Anderson, Karl Benjamin, Frederick Hammersley, Jules Langsner, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Ad Reinhardt, and others. Writings and notes include several artist statements, lectures, notes, and lists and descriptions of paintings, some in the form of hand drawn sketches. Users will find McLaughlin's ideas about his work and aesthetics are referenced in much of the correspondence and writings. Some of the letters also document the evolution of the 1959 "Four Abstract Classicists" exhibition, particularly correspondence with Karl Benjamin, Peter Selz, and Jules Langsner. There are also writings about McLaughlin by others, including Jules Langsner. The Tamarind Lithography fellowship files consists of the letter of appointment, printed material, and profiles for fellow artists at the workshop.
Personal business records include assorted legal and financial papers, such as contracts with galleries, art loan agreements, consignment records, and art shipment expenses. There are business papers about McLaughlin's Japanese print gallery, The Tokaido, Inc. Printed material consists of exhibition catalogs for McLaughlin's shows at the Andre Emmerich Gallery, Felix Landau Gallery, a retrospective at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1968, and the seminal 1959 "Four Abstract Classicists" in Los Angeles, among others. Also found are exhibition announcements, news clippings, and press releases. Artwork includes a few paintings and collages. Photographs, negatives, and slides are of McLaughlin, including one portrait by John Waggaman), artwork, and exhibition installations. There is one album of photographs from a 1963 retrospective exhibition at the Pasadena Art Museum.

Biographical/Historical Note

John Dwyer McLaughlin (1898-1976) was best known as one of the leading Los Angeles "hard-edge" geometric abstractionist painters and one of the artists featured in the seminal 1959 exhibition "Four Abstract Classicists" curated by Jules Langsner. McLaughlin was also a dealer of Japanese art prints.


The John McLaughlin papers were donated to the Archives of American Art in multiple installments. John McLaughlin donated material in 1973 and his widow Florence McLaughlin donated material in 1976. Additional papers were donated by the artist's nephew John McLaughlin in 1998 and 1999. A painting was donated 2015 by Stephne' Hesen estate.

Related Materials

Language Note

The collection is in English.


Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Frederick Hammersley Foundation.