This Painting on the left, And Into The World There Came a Soul Called Ida, is the work of the late Ivan Albright. Not a household name by any means, but if you’ve seen his work you’ll definitely remember it.
I saw a large retrospective of his work a number of years ago at the Met and was fascinated ( and a little creeped out, I have to admit) by his subjects and the darkness and tone of the work. But it was the incredible textures of the paintings that I found amazing. They were very sculptural on the surface, with deep moonscapes of color, layer after layer of paint that seemed to be shoved and mashed on to the surface. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. It was obviously the product of a huge amount of labor but it wasn’t labored. There was something very beautiful there that transcended the unflattering depictions of the paintings.
Albright was best known for the painting he produced that was used in The Picture of Dorian Gray, the 1945 film version of Oscar Wilde’s famous novel of a corrupt young man who defies the ravages of time while his portrait reflects the true result of his debauched life. His painting was the horrifying image at the end of the film.
I’m still fascinated by his work even though I have to admit I get a queasy feeling when I really take in the whole of his characters, like seeing a car wreck and not being to turn away. They are horrible and beautiful at once. I now also really appreciate the epic efforts that must’ve went into creating these pieces, the hundreds of hours that must have been spent. The patience of maintaining vision.
So check out the work of Ivan Albright. You don’t have to like his work but you should be aware of it…