My purpose is to achieve the totally abstract. 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 benefit of a guiding principle. I must therefore free the viewer from the demands or special qualities imposed by the particular by omitting the image (object). This I manage by the use of neutral forms.

John McLaughlin

Mark McDonald

The Founder of Mid-century Design

Mark McDonald has always been at the epicenter of the world that is mid-century design, to a large extent, it is a world he created. For over forty years, Mark has pioneered whole fields of collecting, providing the scholarship and creating the market for mid-century furniture, studio jewelry, ceramics and Italian glass.

Fifty/50 store front; Ralph Cutler, Mark Isaacson and Mark McDonald

In 1983, Mark opened Fifty/50 with partners Mark Isaacson and Ralph Cutler. This groundbreaking gallery defined collectors’ taste. At the time, modern works were still largely overlooked; Mark and his partners collected and presented the rarest and most interesting pieces, often working with the makers themselves, to create compelling exhibitions accompanied by catalogs documenting the work. 

Fifty/50 opened its doors with an exhibition of Eames design; Mark McDonald and Ray Eames

In the 1990s, Mark opened Gansevoort Gallery, where he continued to curate collections and exhibitions of lasting impact. Over the years, he established relationships with artists and their estates becoming the go to authority on the designs of Art Smith, Ilonka Karasz and Leza McVey, among others. His enthusiasm for the material extended beyond the gallery floor to the back room where lucky visitors got to flip through Mark’s impressive design reference library and discuss the importance of works with him. 

Art Smith with his Spiral necklace design; Mark hosted an exhibition on Art Smith at Gansevoort Gallery. His support of the artist extended to the Brooklyn Museum to which Mark donated several Smith pieces for their collection.

A connoisseur and wealth of knowledge, Mark became a resource for prominent collections across the globe—private and public alike. He inspired a generation of collectors and dealers introducing designers and their production to an audience that continues to grow. In 2002, Mark closed Gansevoort and established 330 gallery in Hudson, New York. Now, semi-retired, Marks splits his time between New York and Florida. He still collects, curates, supports, and shepherds the scholarship of mid-century design.

John McLaughlin 1898–1976

The self-taught, hard-edge painting pioneer John McLaughlin is considered one of the most significant and compelling postwar artists of his time. Born in Sharon, Massachusetts in 1898, McLaughlin served in the Navy during World War I and married Florence Emerson (the grandniece of Ralph Waldo Emerson) in 1928. The couple moved to Japan in 1935 where McLaughlin studied Japanese language and art and upon their return to Boston, opened The Tokaido, Inc., an art gallery specializing in Asian objects and Japanese prints. The outbreak of World War II brought McLaughlin back to Japan once again where he worked as a translator until his service ended in 1946 and the artist settled in Dana Point, California to begin painting fulltime. Inspired by the work of Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian, he drew upon his time overseas to create precise, geometric compositions devoid of representation. Citing 16th-century Japanese painters and Zen Buddhism, McLaughlin sought to provoke introspection in his work and create a meditative state for contemplation. In 1952, the artist stopped using curves altogether, and precise, rectilinear forms dominated his paintings. The same year, the artist had his first solo exhibition at the Felix Landau Gallery in Los Angeles and later showed with André Emmerich in New York and Zurich. In 1959, his work was included in the seminal exhibition Four Abstract Classicists at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where the term “hard-edge” painting was coined. McLaughlin died in 1976, and in 2016, he was the subject of a long-overdue retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art solidifying him as one of the most important American painters of the 20th century. Today, his work is held in many prominent collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo.

Auction Results John McLaughlin