EDWIN MURRAY MacKAY
MacKay was born in Sebewaing, Michigan in 1869. His art instruction was traditional, as it was for many young aspiring Americans. Jean-Paul Laurens was one of his teachers at the Académie Julian in Paris, and he also studied under Kenyon Cox. In 1907, MacKay returned from Paris and paid his respects to friends and family in Detroit. At that time he had a studio in New York and another in Paris.
MacKay exhibited two portraits in the 1908 Carnegie International (again in 1910, 1911, and 1913), and in 1909 and 1912 he exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts but remained active in the Paris Salon. The Little Dressmaker was exhibited there in the spring of 1910. A year later, the Pittsburgh Dispatch described MacKay as “very well known in Pittsburgh,” when reviewing his exhibit at Wunderly Galleries that January. The article mentioned landscapes by MacKay executed in Picardy and on Capri.
When World War I broke out, MacKay was at Etaples. An unidentified newspaper clipping (R.H. Love Galleries Archives, Chicago) stated that the artist lost many of his pictures. MacKay offered his services as an interpreter to the U.S. Army. In 1918 MacKay exhibited Constance at the National Academy of Design and in the 1920s, he painted portraits of Michigan Supreme Court justices, and one of Governor Sleeper. In addition, he worked as a designer for General Electric Company with Maxfield Parrish, probably in the 1920s, when Parrish’s Mazda Lamp calendars spread his name to millions of Americans. MacKay was one of the painters in the Silvermine Art Colony. He died in Detroit, on 28 February 1926.
Gibson, Arthur Hopkins, Artists of Early Michigan. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1975, p. 165.
Submitted by Michael Preston Worley, Ph.D