Everett Shinn: From Street Scenes to Stage and Screen

1 Jan

Everett Shinn, Girl Onstage (1906)

Note: Click on any image to enlarge

Happy New Year!

Everett Shinn (1876 – 1953) was the youngest member of the Ashcan School (sometimes called “the Eight”).   He frequently explored not just urban street life, but also theatre and various aspects of luxury and modernity in New York City.

Shinn’s interests were wide ranging, including not just painting but also theatre and movie scene design (imdb credits Shinn with scene design in at least four early films), play writing and acting.  He’s perhaps best known for painting the enormous murals in the Oak Room at New York’s Plaza Hotel.  Sadly, the Oak Room closed in 2011 — although Shinn’s vaunted murals were reportedly preserved.  The Plaza says the Oak Room will re-open soon, and here’s hoping that’s true.

Left to Right: Everett Shinn, Robert Henri and John French Sloan  (c. 1896)

View of the Oak Room, Plaza Hotel, New York City, showing one of Everett Shinn’s famous murals.  This photo taken from the Plaza Hotel website:  http://www.theplaza.com

Everett Shinn, Footlight Flirtation (1912)

Shinn’s early work was typical of the Ashcan School — gritty urban realism in the tradition of Robert Henri and John French Sloan.  Gradually, however, Shinn’s interest became more lyrical.  He traveled to France where he was impressed by the paintings of Edgar Degas, and his natural interest in theatre carried him in a new and arguably more romantic direction.

Everett Shinn, Fifth Avenue (1910)

Everett Shinn, The Canfield Gambling House (1912)

Degas’ influence is clearly on display in Shinn’s work, both in terms of subject and method.  I would argue Shinn remained committed to realism throughout his career.  Shinn’s realist bent was perhaps obscured by his focus on theatre, which is itself, by its very nature, an engine of fantasy.  Like Degas, however, Shinn faithfully rendered theatre in the best realist tradition.  In my estimation there’s never been a better portrayer of the New York theatre and social scene than Everett Shinn.  His paintings give a priceless insider’s view into that world and are quite interesting and stunning.

Everett Shinn, The Orchestra Pit (1906)

Everett Shinn, Nightclub Scene (1934)

Everett Shinn, Theatre Box (1906)

Everett Shinn, Self Portrait (1901)

Everett Shinn, Cover, Vanity Fair Magazine (June 1916)

Everett Shinn, Vaudeville Dancer (1912)

3 Responses to “Everett Shinn: From Street Scenes to Stage and Screen”

  1. bobbalouie January 10, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    Another Everett Shinn lover! Yay! Like you, I love Shinn’s work. Thanks for posting.

  2. bobbalouie January 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    Love Shinn!


  1. At the Theater with Everett Shinn « museworthy - January 10, 2012

    […] print of Everett Shinn. Kind of sexy Here’s another informative page and a terrific blog post on Everett Shinn. Very interesting guy in many ways. I think we’ll be seeing more of him, […]

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