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Everett Shinn collection, 1877-1958

Biographical Note

Everett Shinn (1876-1953) was a painter, muralist, illustrator, and theatrical scene designer who worked primarily in New York City. Shinn was a member of "The Eight," a group of painters known for their realistic portrayal of American urban life.
Everett Shinn was born on November 6, 1876 in Woodstown, New Jersey, the son of Isaiah and Josephine Ransley Shinn. He attended Quaker schools until 1890 when he went to the Spring Garden Institute in Philadelphia, studying engineering and industrial design until 1893.
Shinn enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts between 1893 and 1897. During this time he was hired as an artist-reporter for the Philadelphia Press, the Inquirer, and the Ledger. He also forged his friendships with painters George Luks, John Sloan, William J. Glackens, and Robert Henri, all future members of "The Eight."
Shinn moved to New York City in 1897 and quickly found employment as an illustrator for the newspaper The World. In 1898, he married Florence Scovel, the first of his four wives. In 1900, he traveled to England and France, and was later employed by Harper's Weekly. Shinn befriended decorator Elsie De Wolf and architect Stanford White, and designed and executed murals for the homes of their clients. Shinn created eighteen mural panels for David Belasco's Stuyvesant Theatre that opened in 1907, and murals for the Council Room of the Trenton, New Jersey City Hall in 1911. His most notable murals were created for the Oak Room of New York's Plaza Hotel in the 1940s.
In 1908, Shinn participated in the seminal group exhibition of "The Eight" at Macbeth Gallery. In 1911, he was included in the Exhibition of Independent Artists, and was invited to send works to the International Exhibition of Modern Art, better known as the Armory Show, in 1913, but for an unknown reason, declined. Shinn exhibited regularly and his works are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Delaware Art Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.
Throughout his career Shinn was fascinated by the theater and the act of performance, which he made the subject of many of his works. He also wrote, directed, and performed in his own plays. Between 1917 and 1920, Shinn worked as an art director for Sam Goldwin at Goldwyn Pictures. He also worked for Inspiration Pictures from 1920 to 1923, and for William Randolph Hearst at Cosmopolitan Pictures in 1923. He divorced Florence Scovel in 1912, and married Corinne Baldwin in 1913, with whom he had two children, Janet and Davidson. He divorced again in 1921, married Gertrude Chase in 1924, and divorced again in 1932. In 1933, Shinn married his fourth wife, Paula Downing; they divorced in 1942.
From 1935 to 1939, he covered a murder trial for the Boston Traveler, exhibited his work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and won a prize for watercolor at an exhibition at the Chicago Art Institute. In the 1940s Shinn participated in exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and at the American-British Art Center. In 1949, Shinn was made an Academician of the National Academy of Design, and in 1951, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Everett Shinn died on May 1, 1953 in New York City.