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 Donald Alexander Mackay  (1914 - 2005)

About: Donald Alexander Mackay


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Lived/Active: New York/Maryland      Known for: sketch artist-city views, commercial art

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Known for his drawings depicting events in the development of Manhattan going back to the mastodons, through Paleo-Indians of about 7000 years ago, Algonquin Indian occupation, New Amsterdam era and the modern period of subways and skyscrapers.  In 1987, the book he wrote and illustrated was published.  Titled The Building of Manhattan, it is a compilation of drawings that summarize his career.

Mackay was born with the name of Donald Alexander Mackay in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He grew up in Boston where he attended the Massachusetts College of Art.  He then took a job as designer in the E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company and held that job until he was laid off during the Depression.  He served in the Army during World War II, and then worked in an art studio in Greenwich, where he met his artist wife, Stella Da Costa.  As a couple, they went to Mexico to study graphics with Alfredo Zalce, and then he studied etching at Pratt Institute.

In the 1950s, Mackay was a commercial artist and worked as a freelance artist.  During that period, he became intriqued with Wall-Street construction and did sketches of the changes he observed.   He also contributed drawings for illusttrating children's books, and he also did artwork for a series of space flights as well as illustrations of the White House and the Metropolitan Opera.

Donald Mackay died on December 17, 2005 in Frederick, Maryland.

Wolfgang Saxon, "Donald Mackay, 91, Artist Who Sketched Manhattan", The New York Times, January 9, 2006, A22

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