b. 1893 South Africa
d. 1962 London, UK







SAMSidney A. MacDonald was originally a display manager in South Africa. However, the spirits gave him no peace until he gave up his commercial career, emigrated to London and became a mediumistic artist. He mainly created visionary portraits of otherworldly people, predominantly important historical figures, most of whom were so-called spirit guides of living people. For example, he painted the spirit guide of the famous British healer Edward George Fricker (1910-1986), known as E.G. Fricker. During a spiritualist séance, a medium told him that he was being guided by Rembrandt. It was also claimed that William Blake would inspire some of his work. MacDonald accepted commissions for portraits of the deceased, using his clients' letters as psychometric objects to contact the spirit of the deceased.

With great speed and sure strokes, he executed the portraits in pastel, in the overwhelming majority of cases in profile. His works are characterized by that "charming uniformity" of which André Breton spoke. And, as with Margarete Held, one has the impression that the features of those depicted reflect his own, as if his ego were endlessly distributed and reproduced in the ghostly recurrence of the likenesses.




2023 The Departed, The Gallery of Everything, London, UK
2023 Frieze Art Fair, The Gallery of Everything, London, UK

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