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An abstract or semi-abstract movement in painting founded in 1912 by Stanton Macdonald-Wright and Morgan Russell, two American artists living in Paris (they met there in 1911). The term ‘synchromism’ means literally ‘with colour’ or ‘colours together’; it was coined by Russell and both he and Macdonald-Wright were much concerned with the purely abstract use of colour (in 1912 Russell said that he wished to do ‘a piece of expression solely by means of colour and the way it is put down, in showers and broad patches, distinctly separated from each other, or blended…but with force and clearness and large geometric patterns’). In the period 1911–14 the Synchromists were working in a similar direction to the Orphists but more or less independently and the two Americans were appalled when they were dismissed by some critics as followers of their European counterparts. Although Synchromism petered out with the First World War (during which Macdonald-Wright and Russell were separated), it influenced several American artists over the next few years (notably Benton), and its founders hold distinguished places in the vanguard of abstract art.

Subjects: Art.

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