DescriptionSTANTON MACDONALD-WRIGHT (American, 1890-1973)
Still Life of Vase and Fruit (Reflections in Red), circa 1911-13
Oil on panel
15 x 20-1/4 inches (38.1 x 51.4 cm)
Initialed lower left: S.M.W.
PROPERTY FROM THE KING COLLECTION, TEXAS
Goldfield Galleries, Los Angeles;
Private collection, New York;
Christie's, New York, May 22, 1991, lot 292;
Daniel B. Grossman Galleries, Rancho Santa Fe, California;
Acquired by the present owner from the above, September 1992.
Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York, "The Color of Modernism: The American Fauves," April 29-July 26, 1997;
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina, and elsewhere, "Color, Myth, and Music: Stanton Macdonald-Wright and Synchromism," March 4-July 3, 2001;
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, December 2, 2001-February 24, 2002;
El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, "Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection," September 8, 2013-January 8, 2014, no. 26.
Letter written by Dr. Will South dated November 14, 1992, archived in the King Collection files;
J. Anderson Kyle, Cézanne and American Painting 1900-1920, Ph.D. dissertation, Austin, Texas, 1995, pp. 417-34, fig. 121, illustrated;
W. Gerdts, The Color of Modernism: The American Fauves, exhibition catalogue, Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York, 1997, n.p., pl. 38, illustrated;
W. South and J. Coffey, Color, Myth, and Music: Stanton Macdonald-Wright and Synchromism, exhibition catalogue, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina, 2001, pp. 172 & 204, no. 4, illustrated;
P.S. Cable, Modern American Painting 1907-1936: The Maria and Barry King Collection, exhibition catalogue, El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, Texas, 2013, pp. 80-82, no. 26, illustrated.
After studying at the Art Students League of Los Angeles, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, at the age of seventeen, moved to Paris to continue his training. With fellow artist Morgan Russell, he developed Synchromism--an aesthetic philosophy of color perception and the only Modernist style created by an American artist prior to World War I.
The two young students were inspired to develop their Synchromist ideas from color theory classes in Paris with the Canadian painter Ernest Percyval Tudor-Hart, who taught a psychologically-based musical system of color harmony. Another stimulus was Russell's visit to the Futurist exhibition at the Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in February 1912. Despite critical endorsement both abroad and back at home, the Synchromist movement was short-lived, and both men moved to a more representational style.
Still Life of Vase and Fruit (Reflections in Red) belongs to the period immediately leading up to Synchromism, yet the picture is more boldly coloristic--Fauvist even--where the color rhythms of Synchromism still do not yet overwhelm the broad, flat brushstrokes, or the repeated circular forms of recognizable objects.
In a personal letter to Dr. King dated November 14, 1992, Dr. Will South, a leading scholar on the artist, notes: "Wright recalled doing hundreds of small studies while working toward the mode of expression that became known as Synchromism...he records in his memoirs that he destroyed nearly all of these works at that time. As a consequence, early paintings such as yours are extremely rare."
Under UV exam, there appear to be several very thin vertical lines of inpaint to address cracking in the lower corner, below the signature. Some pigments in the upper right fluoresce slightly, but it is diffficult to determine if this is the artist's original pigment or minor inpainting. This painting is framed using Optium (museum acrylic glazing), which provides clear legibility for examination with both white light and black light. In order to maintain the integrity and airtight sealing of the housing, the painting was not viewed out of the frame for the condition report. Should you wish to have a more extensive report, we recommend firsthand inspection by a professional conservator. For assistance, please contact the department.
*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.
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