Ivan Albright was an American painter, born 1897 and died 1983. The Art Institute of Chicago permanent collection contains a few of his works; these two in particular struck me.
The painting below is titled “A Picture of Dorian Gray” which the artist painted for the 1945 movie version of Oscar Wilde’s 1891 novel. He was chosen for this work because of his ability to portray the macabre. In the novel, Dorian Gray is a young, handsome man who has his portrait painted showing his attractive, youthful appearance. As he proceeds to live a life of debauchery and evil, his portrait gradually changes to reflect the ugliness of his life.
The painting below, “That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do: The Door,” took Albright a decade to complete. He spent weeks collecting and arranging props for this work, then took nearly ten years to paint it, covering every bit of the canvas with intricate and obsessive detail, as characterizes his work. He considered this his most important work, “a powerful meditation on a life unlived.”