Everett Shinn (born November 6, 1876, Woodstown, New Jersey; died May 1,
1953, New York City) was an American realist painter and member of the Ashcan
School, also known as 'the Eight.' He was the youngest member of the group of
modernist painters who explored the depiction of real life. He is most famous
for his numerous paintings of New York and the theater and of various aspects
of luxury and modern life inspired by his home in New York City.
Cross Streets of New York, 1899.
|November 6, 1876(1876-11-06)
|May 1, 1953 (aged 76)
New York, NY
|painting, set design
Shinn was born in Woodstown, New Jersey, a large Quaker community.http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,883271,00.html
"One of Eight"], Time (magazine), March 11, 1935. Accessed May 14, 2008.
"Others of "The Eight" may have been better artists but none, including the
late, lusty George Luks, had a more adventurous life than Everett Shinn. A fat
little Quaker boy in Woodstown, N. J., he was known as "Pud" (pudding) to his
contemporaries."</ref> His parents, Isiah Conklin Shinn and Josephine Ransley
Shinn were rural farmers. He had two brothers: Warren, who was older and
Harold who was younger. Shinn was named for the author Edward Everett Hale
of whom his father was a great fan. In 1898, Shinn married Florence Scovel,
known as "Flossie", another artist from New Jersey. In 1912, he and Flossie
divorced. He was remarried to Corinne Baldwin in 1913 and they had two
children, Janet and David. By 1933, Shinn had divorced two more wives and was
the subject of many tabloid rumors. He suffered many losses during the Great
Depression and sold very few paintings during that time. Between 1910 and
1937, Shinn held only one exhibition of paintings at Knoedler's in 1920.
Between 1937 and his death in 1953, Shinn received several awards commending
his innovative paintings and participated in several exhibitions. He died of
lung cancer in 1953.
Shinn left Woodstown at the age of fourteen and enrolled at a technical
institution known as the Spring Garden Institute in Philadelphia from
1888-1890. The school specialized in the teaching of mechanical drawing and
architecture and was also attended by fellow member of ‘The Eight,’ John
Sloan. Following his education, Shinn spent a year working at the Thackery Gas
Fixture Works designing light fixtures. After being fired for doodling in the
margins of his plans, his former employer urged him to go into a more creative
field, citing the newspaper and magazine industries as examples.
He began his work for the Philadelphia Press in 1893 as an
illustrator. Many, including Shinn, consider this the true beginning of his
art career. In later years, Shinn would express his great dismay over the
development of photography as the major source of pictorials in newspapers
because it eventually largely replaced his form of art. He continually moved
from paper to paper for the rest of his illustrating career, receiving a pay
increase with each move. The attention to detail necessary for his newspaper
illustrations is reflected in his style and later paintings, especially those
of urban nature. In 1899, he quit the newspaper business and began working for
Ainslee's Magazine, a magazine that also employed his wife, who was by
that time a very successful illustrator and who brought in a good deal of the
household income.Shinn also started displaying his work publicly in 1899 with
mixed reactions. In 1900, he and Flossie traveled to Europe for him study and
prepare to produce another exhibit. The trip greatly influenced his art in
years to come during his visit, he saw European art that was focused on
theatrical portrayals, as well as impressionist works.
Shinn has said of his experience at the Philadelphia Press:
"In the Art Department of the Philadelphia Press on wobbling, ink-stained
drawing boards William J. Glackens, George Luks, Everett Shin and John Sloan
went to school, a school now lamentably extinct…a school that trained memory
and quick perception."
It was during Shinn's time in Philadelphia that artists John Sloan and
Joseph Laub established the Charcoal Club as an alternative art school. The
group, whose membership was comprised of members of 'the Eight' such as Henri,
Sloan, Glackens, Luks and Shinn reached a peak membership of 38 members
sketched nudes and did critiques of each others work. The club is often
thought of as the establishing point of the Philadelphia group, later known as
and 'The Eight'
In 1897, Shinn was offered a higher paying job as an illustrator for the
New York newspaper, The World. He moved there and was joined shortly
there after by his wife, Flossie, and by other members of the Charcoal Club.
Shinn enjoyed living in the city and observing the eccentric daily hustle and
bustle exemplified by living in New York. Much of Shinn's life and opinions
were reflected in his work. His life in New York was a major subject in many
of his paintings. His fascination with the urban changes and city revolutions
was evident in paintings like Fire on Mott Street and Fight.
Shinn often depicted scenes of drama and violence, rallying for social change
and urban understanding. Coinciding with the dramatic themes found throughout
his work, theatre was also a major subject in Shinn's pastels.
A self portrait of Shinn done in 1901 in his charcoal style.
'The Eight,' also known as the Ashcan School, was a group of eight artists
that rebelled against traditional academic artistic standards. Their name was
established in 1907 when they held their single united exhibition together.
The members of the group were extremely diverse in their subjects and painting
styles, a fact that contributed to their short-lived nature.The groups style
is most commonly associated with the realist movement in modern art.
In the years of 1901-1910 Shinn began to experiment more with subjects in
his work, gaining respect from art critics slowly but progressively. His
paintings began to include the subject of theatre, something he is known for
now and he became an acclaimed used of pastels. During this time, he also did
several murals, including one for the Belasco Stuyvesant Theatre that was
Shinn's pastels were bold and brushy. His strokes were thick and his
paintings communicated a sense of immediacy, sending a message similar to that
of a snapshot. Through his many years, Shinn experimented in the mediums of
oil, pastel red chalk, gouache and watercolors, though his most famous works
were oil pastels. Like many painters associated with the realist movement,
Shinn often depicted women and men from diverse races, classes and social
backgrounds in public spaces together. This exploration of lower class subject
matter is representative of the modern art movement. Many members of 'The
Eight' had ties to these subject experimentations. Shinn, like is peers, was
concerned with depicting real life and the world around him.
Many of his paintings were inspired by his window views and walking through
the parks in New York City, his most instrumental paintings were created
during his time there.
Shinn was the youngest member of ‘The Eight.’ He was also the first to
become famous. Though Shinn's work was exploratory in subject matter and
dramatic in style, it is considered most commonly in context with ‘The Eight.’
Shinn's depictions of city life, the theater and high contrast spectacles made
his work different than the popular impressionist works of the time Shinn's
name is still associated with uniqueness and a style of painting that
essentially originated with the Ashcan School.
Shinn also had a lasting impact on the art world specifically in New York
City. Because a favorite subject of Shinn's was daily life in the city,
specifically the parks and common areas where races mixed, he was able to
impact the art scene and social climate of New York. Shinn made it more
acceptable to depict the diverse population with a realistic style. Through
many of his works, Shinn documented leisure time and its impact on the
American lifestyle. New York was also Shinn's home for a good deal of his
life, was where he grew to fame and was where much of his for "The Eight"
Strong Man, Clown and Dancer, 1909
Couple Sitting Among Lanterns (Vanity Fair) June, 1916
The Fight, 1899 (Charcoal). In The Fight, a group of men
stand on the right side of the drawing, watching a fist fight that is taking
place in the center, right outside of a bar. Both black and white men are
represented in the drawing, something unusual for Shinn's time period. The
subject of the drawing (two men fighting) was very controversial. Fighting and
brawls were typically associated with the lower class, a class that wasn't
typically depicted in high art during Shinn's time. There is a bold stroked,
yet sketchy quality to the piece that makes the subjects seem even more uneasy
and off-balance. The balance of the drawing is heavily on the right side of
the painting with much more open urban space depicted on the left. This
drawing is typical of Shinn because it shows lower class subjects in the urban
Theater Scene, 1906 (oil pastel on canvas). This painting is
representative of Shinn's work in that it incorporates the theater, Shinn's
favorite subject, and an intricate set design, another of Shinn's hobbies.
The painting itself is of a group of dancers, clad in mostly white, onstage
with a detailed backdrop of picturesque hills and a garden. The brush strokes
are broad and wide and the painting has a sense of immediacy to it. The
figures within the painting almost seem to be moving. The dancers are all
dressed in white, a color symbolic of purity and one often associated with the
upper class. The subject matter and content of this painting greatly contrasts
with some of Shinn's other works that depict the lower classes as well as a
diverse array of subjects. The painting has an almost dreamlike quality to it,
making it seem more impressionist than realist in some parts.
Fifth Avenue Coach, Winter, 1906, Montclair Art Museum
Self-Portrait,1901, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
The Vaudeville Act, 1902-1903, Palmer Museum of Art at Pennsylvania State
Theater Scene, 1903, Terra Foundation for the Arts, Chicago
Tenements at Hester Street, 1900, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
Dancer in White Before the Footlights, 1910, Butler Institute of American Art,
Outdoor Stage, France, 1905, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
Tightrope Walker, 1924, Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, Ohio
Backstage Scene, 1900, Delaware Art Museum
Actress in Red Before Mirror, 1910, Hunter Museum of American Art, Tennessee
- 1899, January 16-February 25, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts,
- 1903, April 24-June 1, Art Institute of Chicago
- 1905-1906, November 20-January 1, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh
- 1907, January 21-February 2, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
- 1908, March 7, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Chicago, Buffalo,
Toledo, Ohio, Eight
- 1910, April 18, American Watercolor Society, New York
- 1920, June-August, Knoedler's, New York
- 1937, February 9-March 5, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York,
New York Realists
- 1944, Fall, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Bastille Day Exhibit
- 1946, November 19-December 7, American British Art Center
- 1950-1951, December 9-February 25, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- 1952, November, James Graham & Sons, New York
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