Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Abstraction 5086


John D. McLaughlin (Sharon, Massachusetts , 1898 - 1976, Dana Point, California)



Creation Date



20th century


23 in. x 28 in. (58.42 cm x 71.12 cm)

Object Type

mixed media

Creation Place

North America, United States

Medium and Support

casein and graphite on masonite

Credit Line

Gift of Eliot O'Hara


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Accession Number

John McLaughlin explored the potential of geometric abstraction introduced by the early twentieth-century European avant-garde, especially Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian. A Bostonian, he moved to California in 1946 as a full-time artist and quickly established himself within a group of “hard-edge” painters. Rejecting the dynamic gestures of Abstract Expressionism in favor of a controlled, even paint application, McLaughlin and his cohort aimed at reducing the artist’s presence in the work of art. “My purpose is to achieve the totally abstract,” McLaughlin indicated. “I want to communicate only to the extent that the painting will serve to induce or intensify the viewer’s natural desire for contemplation without the benefit of a guiding principle.”

Keywords: black and white   flatness   geometric   hard-edge   Japan influence   minimal   Mondrian influence  

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