The Man Behind "The Picture of Dorian Gray"


Picture of Dorian Gray“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 renowned 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.” — Permanent collection label, The Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago native, Ivan Albright, remains one of the most provocative, yet distinguished, artists of 20th Century and American art. Though now known for his art in its entirety, Hollywood's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is what brought him national publicity and prominence in the art world.

Ivan was a longtime Warrenville resident where his “most productive years” took place in the former Warrenville Methodist Church which he used as a studio and gallery alongside artist and father, Adam Emory Albright, and twin brother, Malvin “Zsissly” Albright.

His painting of the corrupted Dorian Gray, and many of his works, were donated by Ivan to the Art Institute of Chicago, where they currently reside. The Warrenville Historical Museum & Art Gallery has originals and digital reproductions of all three Albright artists in their collection.

Photo: Ivan Albright. Picture of Dorian Gray, 1943/44. Gift of Ivan
Albright. © The Art Institute of Chicago.

Journey Back in Time & See What Inspired It All:
The Albright Building: from Methodist Church to Museum


Ivan Albright and family outside of original Albright Studio


Experience The Community That Birthed The Albright Legacy
Follow the map trail below for a full historical itinerary.


Map of Albright locations

1. Albright Building (now Museum-Albright Studio and Art Gallery from 1924-1957);

2. location of formal small studios of Ivan and Malvin (Ivan has a painting called “My Studio” which depicts this smaller studio);

3a. Warren Tavern (Stafford family ran the business, George Washington Stafford was model for Ivan’s painting “And God Created Man in His Own Image”);

3b. original location of the Warren Tavern during Albright’s time;

4. location of Albright family home in Warrenville, barn behind the home was the location of Ivan paintings “Among Those Left” and “Fleeting Time, Thou Hast Left Me Old”;

5. Blacksmith shop location, German immigrant and Warrenville blacksmith Hugo Kleinnwachter was a model for Ivan’s painting “Among Those Left”;

6. Stafford family home George Stafford was Ivan’s model for “And God Created Man in His Own Image”;

7. home of Art and Arline Stanford who were Ivan models for “The Lineman” and “Flesh”

Learn More

The Albright Studio
(Now the Warrenville Historical Society)
3S530 Second Street
Warrenville, IL 60555