Renowned Art
Morgan Russell



Morgan Russell (January 25, 1886 - May 29, 1953) was a U.S. abstract painter. He was born and raised in New York City in 1886. He was, along with artist Stanton Macdonald-Wright, the founder of Synchromism, an important modernist movement in early 20th century art.

Initially he studied architecture and after 1903 he became friendly with the sculptor Arthur Lee for whom he posed as a model, and lived with for a while. During the period from 1903-1905 he studied sculpture at the Art Students League, with Lee and James Earle Fraser, (where he also posed as a model for the sculpture class). With financial help from Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney whom he met at the League in late January 1906 he traveled to Paris to study art. In 1907 after returning to New York City he studied painting at the League with Robert Henri among others. Returning to Paris in 1909 he studied at Matisse’s art school. After meeting Stanton Macdonald-Wright in 1911, the two began developing theories about color and its relationship to pattern. With Macdonald-Wright, he co-founded the Synchromist movement in 1912. In June of the same year he and Stanton Macdonald Wright had their first Synchromist exhibition at Der Neue Kunstsalon in Munich, with a follow-up exhibition at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune in Paris. He began exhibiting at the Salon des Indépendants in 1913. Russell also exhibited his paintings at the famous New York Armory Show of 1913.

Synchromism was an early and important innovation in pure abstract painting, which was developed primarily by Russell with contributions from Stanton Macdonald-Wright. Other American painters in Paris experimenting with synchromism at the time included Thomas Hart Benton, Andrew Dasburg, and Patrick Henry Bruce, all of whom were friends with Russell and Macdonald-Wright. Bruce was also friendly with Sonia and Robert Delaunay and the proponents of Orphism, (a term coined in 1912 France by the poet Guillaume Apollinaire), a similar movement to Synchromism.

After spending nearly forty years as artist in France from 1909 until 1946, Russell retired to the United States. After suffering two strokes, he died at age 67 near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1953.


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