Morgan Russell, along with fellow American painter Stanton Macdonald-Wright, fathered the Synchromism movement. Convinced that color and sound were equivalent, he wanted to 'orchestrate' the colors of a painting the way a composer arranges notes and chords in a musical composition. The two artists developed a system of painting based on color scales. The system consisted of developing form and depth in a painting through advancing and reducing hues. Their ensuing 'synchromies' were some of the first abstract non-objective paintings in American art.
Morgan Russell first met Macdonald-Wright in Paris in 1907. Russell had been studying at the traditional art academies, but abandoned them for the radical new approaches of Fauvism, Futurism, and Cubism being developed by 'some fellow named Picasso.' Russell became friends with Matisse, Rodin, and even collectors Gertrude and Leo Stein. Russell and Macdonald-Wright exhibited their new aesthetic first in Munich, then in Paris in 1913, which caused a total scandal. The following year they took the show to New York, and Synchromism became the first American avant-garde movement presented in the International arena.