Under the alias S. S. Van Dine, Willard Huntington Wright became famous for his detective fiction, beginning with The Benson Murder Case (1926), which sold out in a week. But earlier, he had helped advance new ideas in art, literature, and journalism. As an editor, he transformed Smart Set, a fashionable repository of light stories and verse, into a serious journal, publishing such writers as D. H. Lawrence and Theodore Dreiser. As an art critic, he championed advanced trends in the press and in his books Modern Painting (1915) and The Future of Painting (1923). Wright's brother, Stanton MacDonald-Wright, painted this portrait around 1913-14, just at the time the artist was introducing his abstract "synchromist" painting style, based on color theory. His portrait of Wright emphasizes instead the bold hues and flat planes of color that MacDonald-Wright absorbed from French painting.