Everett Shinn Charcoal & Ink Wash on Paper, ca. 1950
I got this at an online auction about 15 years ago. I was interested in Everett Shinn's work because that's my last name. I noticed that he had some nice pieces and went to Chicago Institute of Art, so I started looking for something I could purchase, so I found this online. The drawing itself is of Everett Shinn's studio, which he had in Washington Square. And I think that he gave it as a gift to a guy named Edward Caswell, who was another illustrator in the early 1900s. Everett Shinn, from my understanding, was a magazine illustrator before they would send photographers to cover stories, they would send an illustrator who would make a drawing, and that's what would be in the magazine, along with the story instead of a photograph.
Well, that's true that his early career was in illustration. And even as a young child, his great skill at draftsmanship was evident. He studied in Philadelphia. As a child he was described as being theatrical, he loved the circus, he loved acrobats. And there are various accounts of whether he was born in 1873 or 1876. It seemed that he used to lie about his age so that he would appear younger. So maybe that's part of his theatricality.
A little vain. Yes.
Did you know he had four wives and numerous mistresses? He had a lot of... he was very successful, he had a lot of money, but he kind of ran through it all.
And he did become involved with this group known as the Ashcan School, which tried to focus on urban subject matter, gritty topics. And they also rejected the traditional academic forums of painting. Shinn went off to Europe and was exposed to various artists in France and Great Britain, and was less interested in the gritty subject matter. So some of the other members of the eight thought he was sort of an accidental member of this group.
Washington Square is in New York, downtown, and you have a very wonderful photographic document, which I'm going to show right here. Since the work isn't dated, it's great to see that the date on this photograph is 1948, '49, which gives a sense of when the artist would have done this work. As you can see here, there are not nearly so many works on the wall, but this particular picture is in the same position, as are some of these books in the bookcase. When you look at Shinn's market, the kinds of things that do the best are circus subjects, vaudeville subjects. And also works that are dated in the first two decades of the 20th century. So this is a bit of an anomaly because it's not either of those subjects, and it's a much later date, but it still has a certain appeal. How much did you pay for this?
About $900, that was about 15 years ago.
I think if this were offered today in a retail gallery, you might expect it to sell for something in the neighborhood of $18,000. So I think you've got a wonderful item for a great price, and it's just a terrific document for us all to appreciate now, years later.
That's very good.
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