Chicago artist Ivan Albright executed this grisly work for the 1945 movie adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s 1891 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. In Wilde’s tale, a portrait of the young and attractive Gray decays as the protagonist leads an increasingly wayward life, recording the extent of his moral corruption in paint. Having established a reputation for capturing the macabre, Albright was the ideal choice to create such a horrific image that both attracts and repulses its viewers. The portrait appeared in vivid Technicolor, within the otherwise black-and-white film, causing a sensation. When Albright’s canvas was exhibited at the Art Institute later that year, the Chicago Tribune reported that the museum “is having a heck of a time handling the crowds flocking to see his painting.”
Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.
Art Institute of Chicago, Fifty–Sixth Annual American Exhibition of Paintings, Oct. 25, 1945–Jan. 1, 1946, cat. 2, ill. pl. VI.
Chicago, Associated American Artists Galleries, The Albright Twins First Joint Chicago Exhibition, Mar. 29–Apr. 17, 1946, cat. 1.
Chicago, Riccardo’s Restaurant and Gallery, 1946.
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, Painting in the United States, Oct. 11–Dec. 8, 1946, cat. 101, ill. pl. 84.
Springfield, Illinois State Fair, First Annual Exhibition by Artists of the Old Northwest Territory, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Aug. 8–17, 1947, cat. 2, ill. p. 2.
Chicago, Marshall Field & Co. Galleries, Exhibition of Winners of the Illinois State Fair (and Dorian Gray), Sept. 1947.
Miami, Fla. Work exhibited at The Cadillac Hotel and Lord Tarleton Hotel, sponsored by the Advertising Artists Guild of Miami, Dec. 1947.
Chicago, Riccardo’s Restaurant and Gallery, Albright Family Exhibition (works by Ivan, Malvin and Adam), 1950.
Art Institute of Chicago, Ivan Albright Retrospective Exhibition, Oct. 30–Dec. 27, 1964; New York, the Whitney Museum, Feb. 3–Mar. 21, 1965, cat. 29.
Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth College, Hopkins Center, Beaumont–May Gallery, Visitors Forum Show, Aug. 1970.
Omaha, Joslyn Art Museum, The Thirties Decade: American Artists and Their European Contemporaries, Oct. 10–Nov. 28, 1971, cat. 1, ill.
Woodstock, Vermont, Universalist Church, Art on Church Street, June 1975.
Art Institute of Chicago, Works by Ivan L. Albright from the Collection, Oct. 21–Dec. 10, 1978, cat. 22.
Munich, Germany, Haus Der Kunst, Amerikanische Malerei, 1930–1980, Nov. 14, 1981–Jan. 31, 1982, cat. 99, ill. p. 104.
New York, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, Memorial Exhibition of Deceased Members, Nov. 18–Dec. 15, 1985, cat. 14, ill. p. 2.
Turin, Italy, Lingotto S.R.L., Arte Americana 1930–1970, Jan. 8–Mar. 31, 1992, ill. p. 51.
Berlin, Neue Nationalgalerie, George Grosz: Berlin – New York, Dec. 21, 1994–Apr. 17, 1995; Düsseldorf, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein–Westfalen, May 6–July 30, 1995; Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Sept. 7–Dec. 3, 1995, cat. 23, ill.
Art Institute of Chicago, Ivan Albright, Feb. 20–May 11, 1997, cat. no. 41; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 10–Sept. 7, 1997.
Milwaukee Art Museum, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Jan. 22–Feb. 21, 1999, in conjunction with Florentine Opera Event, no cat.
Art Institute of Chicago, Flesh: Ivan Albright at the Art Institute of Chicago, May 4–Aug. 5, 2018, no cat.
Ivan Albright (1897–1983); given to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1977.
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