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Buckley MacGurrin

 (1896 - 1971)
Buckley MacGurrin was active/lived in California, Texas, Michigan / France.  Buckley MacGurrin is known for portrait, still life and figure painting, mural, set design.

Buckley MacGurrin

Biography from Papillon Gallery

Buckley MacGurrin
(1896 -1971)

Buckley MacGurrin was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1896 to Irish-American parents.  In 1912, he moved with his family to Salt Lake City, Utah.  After graduating from High School, he enrolled at UC Berkeley, but after his first semester he left to join the Navy.  He served for two and half years during WWI.

After the war, MacGurrin returned to Berkeley and graduated in 1922.  He then moved to Hollywood and began working as a designer for the movie studios.  After deciding to become a full-time artist, MacGurrin moved to Paris, where he could further his studies.  He remained in Paris from 1922-1933.  He attended the Académie Colarossi* and also studied the masterpieces at the Louvre.

At Colorossi, MacGurrin studied under Richard Miller, Charles Guerin, Richard Navdin, and his primary mentor and close friend, Henry Morisset.  In 1926, he was invited to exhibit at the Salon des Tuilleries*.  That same year he also exhibited at the Salon des Humoristes, and the Salon du France at the gallery Armand Drouant, at which one of MacGurrin's paintings was acquired by the French State.  He would continue to exhibit at the Salon des Tuilleries for seven more years, the remainder of his time in France.

In 1933 he returned to the States, spending six months in New York before moving back to Los Angeles.  His work was represented by Earl Stendahl, whose Stendahl Art Galleries* was at that time located on Wilshire Boulevard, and MacGurrin also kept a studio in the gallery.  His first one-man show was in 1933 at Stendhal.  Around 1937, MacGurrin changed gallery representation to Dalzell Hatfield Gallery.  He also continued to exhibit in Paris, showing his work there at the Salon d'Automne* from1929-1937.

MacGurrin also worked for Paramount Pictures during this time, designing sets and props for the renowned director Cecil B. De Mille.

He worked on the first Federal Art Project* in 1933, executing murals around Los Angeles, including one in the cafeteria of the Los Angeles County Art Museum called Gastronomy Through the Ages.

In 1934 MacGurrin was invited to work on the second Federal Art Project, eventually becoming the supervisor for Los Angeles County and Santa Barbara.  He remained the supervisor until leaving the project in 1938.

After retiring from the Art Project, he took up a teaching position at the San Antonio Art Institute, which incidentally housed one of the best collections of modern French painting west of New York.  He did not live full time in Texas however, and always maintained residence in southern California, teaching only part of the year.

MacGurrin's work with the Federal Art Project is significant not only for the numerous murals and other public works he created during his time, but also for the generation of younger artists he taught and inspired.

MacGurrin's work is represented in the collections of the Frederick R Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, Minnesota; San Gabriel Mission; LACMA (cafeteria mural); LA County Hall of Records; Santa Paula High School; Long Beach Public Library; Museum of Natural History (LA); and the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas.

MacGurrin died in Los Angeles on July 16, 1971.

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Biography from Crocker Art Museum Store
Muralist, sculptor. Born in Kalamazoo, Ml on June 21, 1896. MacGurrin was a graduate of UC Berkeley. After serving in the Merchant Marines during WWI, he moved to Hollywood and began working as a designer for the movie studios.

The years 1926-32 were spent in Paris where he further studied at Académie Colarossi and exhibited at the Salon. He was a designer at Paramount Pictures in 1934 and was a supervisor for the Federal Art Project in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara counties in 1937.

He died in Los Angeles on July 16, 1971.

Exhibitions: Stendahl Gallery (LA), 1933; LA County Fair (Pomona), 1941.


San Gabriel Mission; LACMA (cafeteria mural); LA County Hall of Records; Santa Paula High School; Long Beach Public Library; Museum of Natural History (LA). AAW; MaS; WWC 1942; DR.

Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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About  Buckley MacGurrin

Born:  1896 - Kalamazoo, Michigan
Died:   1971 - Los Angeles, California
Known for:  portrait, still life and figure painting, mural, set design