Rihoko Ueno; Ricky Gomez
Scope and Contents
The papers of Southern California painter Stanton Macdonald-Wright measure 17.2 linear feet and date from 1890 to 2008. The collection contains biographical material including address books and interview transcripts; correspondence with family, friends, and artists, including Morgan Russell, and his wife Suzanne Binon, Michel and Suzanne Seuphor, Ann and John Summerfield, and Bethany Wilson; contracts, correspondence, and other material related to exhibitions MacDonald-Wright participated in or that featured his works in the decades following his death; notes, drafts and manuscripts for books, and other writings; diaries and travel journals; invoices, inventories, legal and estate documents, and other personal business records; scrapbooks consisting of clippings and exhibition materials; clippings, exhibition announcements, exhibition catalogs, and other printed materials; sketches and other artwork; photographs, slides and transparencies of MacDonald-Wright, family portraits, travels, and artwork.
Biographical material consists of address books, interview transcripts, and obituary and funeral material.
Correspondence consists of letters with family, friends, and artists, including Morgan Russell, and his wife Suzanne Binon, Michel and Suzanne Seuphor, Ann and John Summerfield, and Bethany Wilson.
Exhibition files consists of contracts, correspondence, and some printed material related to exhibitions that Macdonald-Wright participated in or that has featured his works in the decades following his death. Some of the exhibitions include the Southern California Art Project, Kineidoscope film, and "Color and Myth: Stanton MacDonald-Wright and Syncronism."
Writings consist of drafts of essays, plays, and book manuscripts. There are drafts of A Treatise on Color with palettes and color wheels, The Basis of Culture, and Macdonald-Wright's autobiography Bittersweet: An Artist's Life. At the end of the series are a number of files containing photographs, printed material, and some notes that Macdonald-Wright used for various book projects.
Diaries consist of a number of diaries and travel journals. One diary was written in Paris in 1909 in which Macdonald-Wright muses over the aesthetics of art and his color theories. Five additional disbound diaries cover his life from 1939-1973. Travel diaries date from 1959-1972 and cover trips to Italy, Japan, and Hawaii.
Personal business records consists of inventory cards and lists, invoices, property records, and legal documents related to the Macdonald-Wright estate. Also included are files between the estate and various galleries, such as the Esther Robles Gallery and the Goldfield Galleries, in regards to donations of works of art during both his active career and by his estate in the years after his death.
Scrapbooks consist of a scrapbook related to exhibitions featuring MacDonald-Wright's works and scrapbooks of clipping.
Printed material includes a copy of Les Synchromistes exhibition catalog, a newspaper clipping, and The Future of Painting by Willard Wright. Artwork consists of blueprints for Macdonald-Wright's Synchrome Kineidoscope, a color and light projecting machine first envisioned by Macdonald-Wright and Morgan Russell as early as 1913 and finally completed in the late 1950s. Also included are newpaper and magazine clipping, exhibition announcements, and exhibition catalogs.
Artwork consists of a sketchbook, and a number of sketches and drawings.
Photographic material consists of photographs of Stanton Macdonald-Wright and portraits and photographs of his family. Among these photographs is a glass plate negative of his family coat-of-arms. Also included are photographs, slides and transparencies of travels to Japan and Hawaii, and of Macdonald-Wright's artwork. There are also five glass plate images of some of Macdonald-Wright's paintings.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Stanton Macdonald-Wright first loaned materials to the Archives of American Art for microfilming in 1964. David Nellis, a gallery owner, gave the Archives the artist's unpublished autobiography in 1978. The bulk of the Stanton Macdonald-Wright papers were donated to the Archives of American Art by his widow, Jean Macdonald-Wright, in 2 installments in 1995 and then in 2019 as a bequest.
The Archives of American Art also holds material lent for microfilming (reels LA 1 and LA 5) including a brochure on the Santa Monica Library murals and six photographs of the panels while in Macdonald-Wright's studio. There is also a 1939 exhibition catalog for "Southern California Art Project" a master's thesis on Macdonald-Wright by Dori Jean Watson (1957), and one scrapbook of photographs, clippings, and other printed materials dating from circa 1910-1964. Lent materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
The Archives of American Art holds several collections related to the Stanton Macdonald-Wright papers. There is an oral interview of Stanton Macdonald-Wright conducted 1964 Apr. 13-Sept. 16, by Betty Hoag. There are also Stanton Macdonald-Wright Letters to Alan and Fanny Leslie, the Stanton Macdonald-Wright Collection of photographs, Stanton Macdonald-Wright Letters to Morgan Russell, Walter Houk Letters from Stanton Macdonald-Wright, and an Oral History of Stanton Macdonald-Wright by Jeanne M. Marshall for the Voice of America Conducted in 1967.
Funding for the processing of a portion of this collection was provided by the Frederick Hammersley Foundation.
This collection was processed by Rihoko Ueno in 2014 with funding from the Frederick Hammersley Foundation. The additions were processed by Ricky Gomez in 2022.