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Donald Shaw MacLaughlan
american (b. canada)
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Is., Canada
Death Date: 
Death Place: 
Marrakesh, Morocco
An American painter and printmaker who spent most of his career in Europe, Donald Shaw MacLaughlan was celebrated in the early 20th century for his etchings depicting landscapes, architecture, scenes of cities and views of the rural American South. Born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1876, Shaw’s family moved to Boston in 1890. He studied art at the Boston Normal School from 1893 to 1897 and apparently spent time studying the print collection of the Boston Public Library. In 1898 MacLaughlan went to Paris and enrolled in the École des Beaux-Arts to work in the aterlier of Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904), but studied there only three months. He learned etching while in those classes, however; his first etchings date from 1899. He became acquainted with James NcNeill Whistler (1834-1903) and other artists who created etchings and spent time studying the etchings of Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) and other old masters in the collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale. Both Rembrandt and Whistler would have major influences on his art. MacLaugnlan’s skill as an etcher rapidly advanced; in 1900 he created a set of 25 etched views of Paris and in 1901 exhibited two etchings in the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. He returned to the U.S. in 1903, then went back to Paris the following year. He traveled extensively in Europe, visiting England, Switzerland, Italy and Spain as well as various locales in France. His etched views of Venice were well-known. MacLaughlan exhibited views of Paris, Rouen, Normandy and Italy in 1906 in a solo show at the American Art Association Galleries in Paris. He also displayed his work in the 1906 exhibitions of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts and the Société des Peintres-Graveurs Français. In 1907 MacLaughlan was selected by the Parisian dealer Alvin-Beaumont to pull impressions from several of Rembrandt’s etching plates, 84 of which Alvin-Beaumont had purchased the previous year. MacLaughlan was a member of the circle of modernist American artists in Paris, and was on the advisory board of the Secessionist group organized by Eduard Steichen (1879-1973) on February 25, 1908, the New Society of American Artists in Paris. A day later Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946), who had seen impressions MacLaughlan pulled from the Rembrandt plates, opened an exhibition in his 291 Gallery in New York City that included works by MacLaughlan. That year MacLaughlan married Alieen Tillman, a native of Nashville, Tenn. Although his main base was in Europe, MacLaughlan visited the U.S. periodically, worked from studios in New York City in 1911 and 1917, contributed to print exhibitions in this country and was a member of the American Society of Etchers. San Francisco’s Panama-Pacfic International Exposition showed seven of his prints and awarded him a gold medal. MacLaughlan also won medals in expositions in Buffalo, Leipzig and Rome. He was represented by the Albert Roullier Art Galleries in Chicago, which mounted several exhibitions of his work. London’s Fine Art Society organized an exhibition of some two hundred of his works in 1926. In 1931 he created a set of twelve etched views of Chicago, and the following year won a prize at the annual exhibition of the Society of Etchers in New York City. During his career he created some three hundred prints. In 1935 he was elected an associate member of the National Academy of Design, New York City, and was elected a full member in 1938, the year he died in Marrakesh, Morocco. (TNB 11/2015) Selected bibliography: Bailly-Herzberg, Janine. “Mac-Laughlan, Donald-Shaw 1876-1938,” in Dictionnaire de l’Estampe en France, 1930-1950, p. 203. Paris: Arts et metiers graphiques, 1985. Harbor Gallery. Donald Shaw MacLaughlan: A Re-Introduction; Etching, Drawings and Watercolors. Exhibition catalog. New York: Harbor Gallery, 1986. Lever, James. “The Etchings of Donald Shaw MacLaughlan,” Print Collectors Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 4 (December 1926), pp. 322-344. MacHardy, Carolyn W. “The Rembrandt Plates and Donald Shaw MacLaughlan,” in Print Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 1 (March 1993), pp 47-53.