A portrait of the artist John McLaughlin
John McLaughlin was born in 1898 in Sharon, Massachusetts. His mother had a very large collection of Japanese objects. McLaughlin’s education and exposure to Japanese culture shaped his personal interests and profoundly affected his professional choices later in life. He moved to Japan in 1935 and studied Japanese art and language, which was a rare opportunity for an American during this time. Upon returning to Boston in 1938, McLaughlin opened an art gallery called The Tokaido, Inc. where he sold Japanese prints and imported objects from China and Japan. In 1946, McLaughlin moved to Dana Point in Southern California where he became one of the few American abstract artists. He created bilateral paintings with symmetry on the left and right sides of the canvas using vertical and horizontal rectangles. By creating a work that is completely abstract, McLaughlin strove to show the relationship of man to nature without becoming didactic or influencing the viewer’s thoughts. McLaughlin’s first group exhibition was in 1949 at the Los Angeles County Museum. His first solo exhibition was in 1952 at the Felix Landau Gallery, Los Angeles. In 1963, the Pasadena Art Museum (now the Norton Simon Museum) exhibited McLaughlin’s first major museum retrospective. In 1975, the Laguna Art Museum held McLaughlin’s second museum retrospective. McLaughlin died on March 22, 1976, in Dana Point.