Ivan Albright Biography

Ivan Albright




Ivan Albright, born in Chicago in 1897,was a magic Realist painter, a printmaker, and designer. His father was landscape painter Adam Emory Albright. Ivan and his twin brother Malvin enrolled in the Art Institute of Chicago, and on a coin-flip decided that Ivan would study painting, Marvin sculpting. Ivan came to admire the work of El Greco and Rembrandt, and his love of Realism and the human form would spark a career as a medical illustrator in France during World War I.  He studied architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, but in 1925 he would leave a career in architecture and advertising to focus on painting

His work, meticulously and painstakingly created, would often take years to complete. He became known for his themes of death, life, and the effects of time, and famously painted the aging picture of a slowly corrupted Dorian Gray for the film adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s work in 1943. He made his own paints and charcoal, and often carved his own elaborate frames.  Not one to part easily with his finished works, he would often demand a price that far exceeded his contemporaries, and sales of his paintings remained scarce throughout the 1930s and 40s. He worked as a carpenter, printer, and fine-art printmaker at this time.  He would continue to pursue his artistic endeavors until his death in 1983, at his home in Woodstock, Vermont.