Russell, Morgan, 1886-1953

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Morgan Russell was born in Greenwich Village in New York City in 1886. He studied at the Art Students League and the New York School of Art before settling in Paris in 1909, where he studied sculpture with Henri Matisse. He was aware of the avant-garde movements Cubism, Orphism, and Futurism. Turning his attention from sculpture to painting, he developed a style based on the rhythmic use of color, analogous to symphonic musical composition, which he termed Synchromism. Like his contemporaries Frank Kupka and Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Russell was interested in color theory.

In 1976 The Museum of Modern Art organized an exhibition of paintings, notebooks, and sketches entitled "Morgan Russell: Synchromist Studies 1910-1922" [MoMA Exh.# 1121, March 16 - May 25, 1976]. The exhibition was directed by Cora Rosevar, Assistant Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture. Gail Levin Theodore, Assistant Professor of Art History, Connecticut College, collaborated on the exhibition, making available her independent research on Morgan Russell.

From the description of Morgan Russell collection, 1914-1958 (Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)). WorldCat record id: 670394193

Painter, sculptor, co-founder of synchromism, born in New York, N.Y.

Morgan Russell abandoned the study of architecture after his first trip to Paris in 1906. Returning to his native New York, he studied sculpture with James Earle Fraser and anatomy and drawing with George B. Bridgman at the Art Students League. Shortly after, he studied painting with Robert Henri at the New York School of Art; he did his first painting in 1907. During a second trip to Paris in 1908, Russell met Gertrude and Leo Stein and their circle, including Guillaume Apollinaire, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Auguste Rodin. He settled in Paris in the spring of 1909 and did not return to the United States to live for almost four decades. He studied painting with Matisse (c. 1909-10), and received a monthly stipend from his friend Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney through the end of 1915. Russell studied work he saw in museums, and was particularly influenced by Michaelangelo's Dying Slave, which he saw at the Musee du Louvre. In 1911, Russell met Stanton Macdonald-Wright while attending Ernest Percyval Tudor-Hart's classes in color theory. Russell and Macdonald-Wright formed a close friendship, and together developed a painting style called "Synchromism," meaning "with color"; their synchromies were exhibited for the first time in 1913. Russell also became interested in color and light, and began experimenting with a light machine. In 1918, he married Emilie Francesconi; in 1921, they bought a farm southeast of Paris in Aigremont, where Russell would live until leaving France. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Russell returned to more figurative work, often using himself as a model; he visited California in the early 1930s. He married Suzanne Binon in 1946, eight years after his first wife died of cancer. In 1946, the Russells left France for good, going to live with Suzanne's daughter Denyse (Mrs. A. Atwater Kent) in Ardmore, PA. Russell suffered a paralytic stroke in 1948, which affected his ability to paint. He died in a nursing home in Bromwell, Pa., in 1953.

From the description of Morgan Russell archives and collection, 1884, 1908-1959. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 71174525

American painter and theorist.

Russell was one of the founders of Synchromism.

From the description of Papers, 1913-1950. (Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)). WorldCat record id: 122516954

Morgan Russell (1886-1953) was a painter and sculptor from New York, N.Y.

Russell studied at the Art Students League with James Earle Fraser, Robert Henri, and Andrew Dasburg from 1906-1907, and in Paris in 1908. After meeting Stanton Macdonald-Wright in 1911, he became interested in Synchromism and studied with Canadian color theorist Ernest Tudor-Hart. In 1913 Russell produced the first abstract Synchromies and in 1917 developed a series of Synchromies entitled EIDOS.

From the description of Morgan Russell papers, 1891-1977. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 83835344

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Russell, Morgan, 1886-1953. Morgan Russell : artist file : study photographs and reproductions of works of art with accompanying documentation 1930?-1990 [graphic] [compiled by staff of The Museum of Modern Art, New York]. Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection
creatorOf RUSSELL, MORGAN. Artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn Rose Fried Gallery (New York, N.Y.). Rose Fried Gallery records, 1944-1971. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Russell, Morgan, 1886-1953. Letter : Foxcroft Hills, Broomall, Penn., to Mrs. Grace Banker, June 5, 1949. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
creatorOf Lemoine, Jean Gabriel, b. 1891. Jean Gabriel Lemoine material relating to Morgan Russell, 1921-1923, 1964. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Warner, Keith, 1895-1959. Keith Warner papers, 1935-1975. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Russell, Morgan, 1886-1953. Morgan Russell papers, 1891-1977. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Russell, Morgan, 1886-1953. Morgan Russell collection, 1914-1958 Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Lemoine, Jean Gabriel, b. 1891. Jean Gabriel Lemoine material relating to Morgan Russell, 1921-1964. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Macdonald-Wright, Stanton, 1890-1973. Stanton Macdonald-Wright papers, 1907-1973. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Weeks, Henry John. Henry John Weeks papers, 1965-1973. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Macdonald-Wright, Stanton, 1890-1973. Autograph letter signed : [postmarked Santa Monica], to Morgan Russell, 1929 Aug. 18. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Lemoine, Jean Gabriel, b. 1891. Jean Gabriel Lemoine material relating to Morgan Russell, 1921-1923, 1964. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Macdonald-Wright, Stanton, 1890-1973. Stanton Macdonald-Wright letters to Alan and Fanny Leslie, 1968-1976. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Macdonald-Wright, Stanton, 1890-1973. Stanton Macdonald-Wright letters to Morgan Russell, 1913-1938. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Russell, Morgan, 1886-1953. Morgan Russell archives and collection, 1884, 1908-1959. Montclair Art Museum
creatorOf Russell, Morgan, 1886-1953. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
creatorOf Russell, Morgan, 1886-1953. Papers, 1913-1950. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
referencedIn MacAgy, Douglas, 1913-. Douglas MacAgy papers, 1916-1973. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Cohen, Douglas. Synchromy in orange / Douglas Cohen. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Andrew Dasburg Papers, 1908-1981 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Pach, Walter, 1883-1958. Autograph letter signed : Paris, to Morgan Russell, 1930 Jun. 1. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Cooper, Colin Campbell, 1856-1937. Autograph letter signed : New York, to Morgan Russell, 1920 Apr. 8. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Russell, Morgan, 1886-1953 : [miscellaneous ephemeral material]. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library
referencedIn Jean Gabriel Lemoine papers relating to Morgan Russell, 1921-1923, 1964 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Altenburg, Alexander, 1884-1940 person
correspondedWith Alvarez, Mabel, 1891-1985 person
correspondedWith Apollinaire, Guillaume, 1880-1918 person
associatedWith Banker, Grace Turner person
correspondedWith Berber, Friedrich Joseph, 1898-1984 person
correspondedWith Binon, Georges person
correspondedWith Bouché, Louis, 1896-1969 person
correspondedWith Carlock, George person
correspondedWith Cendrars, Blaise, 1887-1961 person
associatedWith Cohen, Douglas. person
correspondedWith Conlon, Barnett D. person
associatedWith Cooper, Colin Campbell, 1856-1937. person
associatedWith Dasburg, Andrew, 1887-1979 person
correspondedWith Dracopoli, John person
correspondedWith Dracopoli, K. N. person
correspondedWith Evans, Aimee person
correspondedWith Evans, Anne person
correspondedWith Faure, Elie, 1873-1937 person
correspondedWith Flanagan, John F., 1865-1952 person
correspondedWith Gans, Howard S. person
correspondedWith Hacart, Yves person
correspondedWith Head, R. Chalfant person
correspondedWith Henri, Robert, 1865-1929 person
correspondedWith Hirsch, Sidney M. (Sidney Mttron) person
associatedWith Huston, Walter, 1884-1950. person
correspondedWith Kennicitt, Robert, 1892-1983 person
correspondedWith Kent, Denyse Binon person
correspondedWith Kikoïne, Michel, 1892-1968 person
correspondedWith Lee, Arthur, 1881-1961 person
associatedWith Lemoine, Jean Gabriel person
associatedWith Lemoine, Jean Gabriel, b. 1891. person
associatedWith MacAgy, Douglas, 1913- person
associatedWith Macdonald-Wright, Stanton, 1890-1973. person
associatedWith Matisse, Henri, 1869-1954. person
correspondedWith Mauriac, François, 1885-1970 person
correspondedWith Morgan, Charles Otis person
correspondedWith Morgan, Miner Antoinette Russell person
associatedWith Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Organ, Violet person
associatedWith Pach, Walter, 1883-1958. person
correspondedWith Robinson, Alexander, 1867-1952 person
associatedWith Rose Fried Gallery (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Rosiere, Augusta person
correspondedWith Russell, Suzanne Binon person
correspondedWith Seuphor, Michel, 1901- person
correspondedWith Sexton, Fred person
correspondedWith Shore, Viola Brothers person
correspondedWith Shore, Wilma person
correspondedWith Sol, Louis person
correspondedWith Stein, Eugenie Auzias, d. 1949 person
correspondedWith Stein, Leo, 1872-1947 person
correspondedWith Stravinsky, Igor, 1882-1971 person
associatedWith Tudor-Hart, Ernest Percyval, 1873-1954. person
correspondedWith Turnbull, Blanche person
correspondedWith Turnbull, Ruth person
associatedWith Warner, Keith, 1895-1959. person
associatedWith Weeks, Henry John. person
correspondedWith Whitney, Gertrude Vanderbilt, 1875-1942 person
correspondedWith Wright, Willard Huntington, 1888-1939 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States--Correspondence
France
New York (State)--New York
France--Paris
New York (State)--New York
United States
Subject
Art, American
Sculptors--Interviews
Sculptors
Gender identity
Color in art
Painters
Art--American (?)--Reproductions
Artists
Synchromism (Art)
Expatriate artists
Art--Study and teaching
Art and music
Artist archives
Painting, Abstract
Synchromism (Art)--Sources
Occupation
Painter
Function

Person

Birth 1886-01-25

Death 1953-05-29

Americans

English,

German,

French

Information

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