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Morgan Russell Collection

in The Museum of Modern Art Archives





The Museum of Modern Art
Museum Archives
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019-5497
moma.org/learn/resources/archives

© 1999 The Museum of Modern Art. All rights reserved.
The Museum of Modern Art, Publisher
Finding aid prepared by JT in August 1999.
Machine-readable finding aid derived from moma-017.xml, 2006. Machine-readable finding aid created by Kathleene Konkle. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Morgan Russell
Title: Morgan Russell Collection
Dates: 1914-1958
Quantity: One 5″ document box
One 2.5″ document box

Arrangement

The Papers are organized into four Series:
Series I: Original Documents
Series II: Copies
Series III: Secondary Source Material
Series IV: Photographs


Biographical Note

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.

Russell exhibited his Synchromist paintings, along with those of another young American, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, first in Europe and then in New York in 1914 and 1916. Although Russell was discouraged by financial difficulties and abandoned his Synchromist style by 1930, his work had suggested to his American contemporaries the possibilities of a new style of abstract painting that emphasized color. He returned to America in 1946 and died in Broomall, Pennsylvania in 1953.

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.


Scope and Content Note

Materials include original documents in the artist's hand, such as musical notebooks, essays, notes, and sketches relating to his theories on art. An original typescript with handwritten annotations, negative photostats, catalogues, exhibition announcements, photographs, and newspaper and magazine articles are included as well.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The records are open for research and contain no restricted materials.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Morgan Russell Collection is the physical property of The Museum of Modern Art. Literary rights, including copyright belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Rights to work produced during the normal course of Museum business resides with The Museum of Modern Art. For further information, and to obtain permission to publish or reproduce, contact the Museum Archivist.


Related Collections at MoMA and Elsewhere

See also, the Curatorial and Registrar exhibition files, the Artist File in the museum library, and the correspondence between Stanton Macdonald-Wright and Morgan Russell, 1913-1938 at the Archives of American Art.

Extensive Morgan Russell Papers, formerly located at the Whitney Museum of American Art, are now located at the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, New Jersey.


Administrative Information

Provenance

The Collection was a gift to The Museum of Modern Art Library from Rose Fried in 1968. They were transferred from the Library to the Museum Archives on August 14, 1998 and re-processed adhering to archival principles.

Preferred Citation

Morgan Russell Collection, [series.folder]. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York.


Additional Descriptive Data

Explanation of Abbreviations

ALS is an Autographed Letter Signed.
TLS is a Typed Letter Signed.
TL stands for Typed Letter.
MoMA is The Museum of Modern Art.
n.d. stands for no date.
re: stands for regarding.


Container List

 

Series I. Original Documents

Includes a notebook, musical scores, essays, notes, sketches, and typescript, relating to Russell's theories on art, Synchromism

folder Title Date
I.1 Notebook
I.2 Musical scores and essays
I.3.a Notes and sketches
I.3.b Notes and sketches
I.4 Original typescript by the artist

With annotations
Five pages

December 1947, August 1950
I.5 ALS Morgan Russell - Robert Henri

Negative photostat

June 21, 1925

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Series II. Copies

Includes copies of all of the items in Series I; a notebook, musical scores, essays, notes, photostat, sketches, and typescript, relating to Russell's theories on art, Synchromism

folder Title Date
II.1 Notebook

Negative photostat and xerox copy

II.2 Musical scores and essays [copies]
II.3.a Notes and sketches [copies]
II.3.b Notes and sketches [copies]
II.4 Original typescript by the artist

With annotations
Five pages

December1947, August 1950
II.5 ALS Morgan Russell - Robert Henri

Negative photostat

June 21, 1925

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Series III. Secondary Source Material

folder Title Date
III.1 Catalogues and exhibition announcements 1923-1957
III.2 Articles

Examples include:
“"Synchromists" Reunited,” Los Angeles Times, July 19, 1931
$ldquo;Wright and Russell Give Season's Major Exhibit,” Los Angeles Times, Jan. 10, 1932

1914-1958

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Series IV. Photographs

folder Title
IV.1 Photographs of works of art by Russell

Drawings, watercolors, paintings, and sculpture

IV.2 Photographs of artists

Examples include: reception at the Rose Fried Gallery
Russell with his work


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