Haikus, Modernism and Stanton MacDonald-Wright
Stanton MacDonald-Wright’s “Haiga Portfolio” (1965-1966) blends Eastern and Western influences, pairing vibrant modernist paintings with haikus written by some of Japan’s most influential poets.
The term “haiga” refers to a style of Japanese painting by haiku poets, whose poems are known for their brevity and simplicity. Each of the ten prints that compose the “Haiga Portfolio” have a corresponding haiku.
The “Haiga Portfolio” exemplifies the 20th century modernist movement Synchromism, cofounded in 1913 by MacDonald-Wright and Morgan Russell. The movement sought to arrange color in the same way that sound is composed in music and is considered the first American avant-guard movement to be accepted internationally. Seventy-five years old at the time of the portfolio’s creation, MacDonald-Wright employed the use of energetic, swirling shapes coupled with dense, vivid colors orchestrated in the modernist style and the rhythm of Synchromism.