The paintings from McLaughlin’s later part of his life (1950-75) methodically embody the style of Western nonobjective art, so much so, that it takes a sensitive viewer to fully see the influences of Japanese culture and art in his compositions. McLaughlin’s study of Japanese language and art, his experience of living in Japan, and his expertise in Japanese paintings and prints, ultimately shaped his character and informed his artistic style. After his experiences in the war, McLaughlin did not part-take in the Abstract Expressionist movement. Instead he looked to his past influences from the works of Sesshu, Malevich, and Mondrian. The post-war movement brought McLaughlin closer to his aesthetic of modesty and plainness, leading his compositions to become more distilled as he aged. McLaughlin’s careful scale and color relationships were not his sole focus; it was the hoped-for state of mental struggle brought by the painting that was McLaughlin’s ultimate goal.
Literature: Larsen, Susan C., and Peter Selz. John McLaughlin: Western Modernism Eastern Thought. Laguna Beach: Laguna Art Museum, 1996.
In the upcoming May 23, 2010 Modern Art & Design Auction, LAMA will be offering a John McLaughlin painting:
Oil on board
Verso “John McLaughlin #33 – 1958 The Landau Gallery”
12″ x 6.25″
Estimate $20,000 – 30,000
To be offered in May 23, 2010 Modern Art & Design Auction