Explore the Era

Delve into the postwar Los Angeles art world in this online archive, which provides additional material related to the exhibitions on view at the Getty Center. Learn about hipsters and happenings, and the venues across the city where all the action took place through images from the archives and first-hand accounts with the artists.

John McLaughlin

John McLaughlin

John McLaughlin in front of one of his paintings, ca. 1975. Photo by Frank J. Thomas. Courtesy of the Frank J. Thomas Archives

John McLaughlin (1898–1976) was born in Sharon, Massachusetts. His exposure to Asian art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston had a profound impact on his artistic development. Inspired by the concept of the “marvelous void” from 14th- and 15th-century Japan, McLaughlin painted spare, minimalist canvases that encourage the viewer to contemplate them in a meditative, direct engagement with the work of art. In addition to Japanese art and Eastern philosophy, much of which he learned during his travels in Asia, McLaughlin was influenced by Kasimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian, both of whom employed primary colors and grid-like patterns. McLaughlin was a core member of Southern California’s Abstract Classicists, or hard-edge painters.

Historic Map Locations

Works of Art

  • #18–1961

    #18–1961, 1961, John McLaughlin. Oil on canvas. 48 x 60 in. Private Collection

  • #8, 1966, John McLaughlin.

    # 8, 1966, John McLaughlin. Oil on canvas. 48 x 60 in. The Marilynn and Carl Thoma Collection. Image courtesy of Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, New York

Explore the Archive

  • Abstract Classicists

    Abstract Classicists meet at Lorser Feitelson’s studio in Los Angeles, May 10, 1959