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Picture of Dorian Gray, 1943—44

Ivan Albright

The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Ivan Albright

Ivan Albright painted this lurid portrait for the Oscar-winning movie adaptation of Oscar Wilde's 1891 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. In Wilde's tale, Dorian Gray commissions a portrait of himself as an attractive young man and later trades his soul for an ever-youthful appearance. As the still-handsome Gray leads an increasingly dissolute and evil life, his painted representation rots and decays, revealing the extent of his moral corruption. Albright's renown as a painter of the macabre made him the ideal choice of Albert Lewin, the director of the movie, to paint the horrific image of Gray. Although the movie was shot in black and white, Lewin filmed the painted portrait in color to emphasize Gray's shocking transformation.

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