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Sold at Auction: Ivan Albright

Alias:Ivan AlbrightIvan "Le" Lorraine Albright


Ivan Le Lorraine Albright (2/20/1897-11/18/1983), painter, born in North Harvey, Illinois – was an identical twin brother of Malvin Albright who became a sculptor. Both brothers enrolled in art study at The Art Institute of Chicago. Their father ( Adam Emory Albright) was once a student of Thomas Eakins and was a landscape painter.

For a time Ivan was enrolled at Northwestern University but left to pursue architectural study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During WWI, Albright was stationed in Nantes, France where he made medical drawings in an army hospital. This experience likely influenced the decayed or corrupt appearance of substances that his mature work represented with magic realism and exaggerated light and shadow. He lived in Philadelphia between 1925 and 1926 while attending the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and next pursued study at the National Academy of Design in New York City. To this organization he was elected a member in 1942. By 1927 he and his wife moved to Warrenville, Illinois where he began to receive acclaim, with his first exhibition opening in 1930. Later, he lived in Woodstock, Vermont.

Albright’s brilliantly executed paintings often took years to complete. Yet even so, he was prolific. He was also an accomplished engraver/printmaker who, at times, produced his own highly ornate frames. Perhaps his most famous oil painting was one painted in 1943, “The Picture of Dorian Gray” produced to accompany a film of the same title adapted from Oscar Wilde’s novel. Throughout his career he painted many self-portraits – more than twenty made in the final three years of his life, before he died at age 83.
Titles for his dark and decayed- looking images seem almost as complex as the paintings. A few examples follow:
“Into the World There Came a Soul Called Ida” (1929-30)
“That Which I should Have Done I Did Not Do” (The Door) - 1931-41 This painting won him acclaim and First Medal at the Metropolitan Museum.

“Poor Room-There Is No Time, No End, No Today, No Yesterday, No Tomorrow, Only the Forever and Forever and Forever without End (The Window) 1942-63

In 1997, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Ivan Albright’s birth, the Art Institute of Chicago mounted a major exhibition of his work. Albright’s papers, collections, photos, sketches and documents of his life are archived in the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries , Art Institute of Chicago.
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