Four panels of a ten-panel decorative screen from the Ballard House, Louisville, Kentucky signed and dated "Painted/ by/ Everett Shinn/ 1911" (on the reverse) oil on canvas stretched with wood 109 1/4 x 96in, overall (277.5 x 244cm)
Most famous for his role as one of "The Eight," Everett Shinn enjoyed a varied career that began at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, during which time he supported himself by working as a staff artist for the Philadelphia Press. In 1898, he married Florence Scovel, a member of the Biddle family of Philadelphia and his circle of friends expanded to include the decorator Elsie de Wolfe, architect Stanford White and playwright Clyde Fitch, and by 1900 he had begun working on decorating commissions for them.
The interior decorating projects that Shinn took on with Elsie de Wolfe and Stanford White developed into a rococo style, and in 1906 Shinn was commissioned to decorate the interior of David Belasco's new Stuyvesant Theatre; for this commission, Shinn executed eighteen decorative panels. The Stuyvesant Theatre commission generated a subsequent commission for a large mural in the City Hall Council Chambers in 1911 in Trenton, New Jersey. After these two large-scale public commissions were completed, Shinn returned to work doing private commissions.
Shortly after finishing the Trenton commission in 1911, Charles Thurston Ballard of Louisville, Kentucky commissioned Shinn to help decorate his new Neo-Georgian mansion near Louisville, which was designed and built by E.T. Hutchings. Ballard came from a prominent Louisville family, which descended from the renowned Kentucky pioneer Bland Ballard. Shinn's commission included seven chalk lunettes and a ten-panel painted screen, four panels of which are offered here. When Ballard died in 1918, the house was sold to Judge Robert Worth Bingham, a publishing magnate in Louisville. Now a historical landmark, the house remains in the Bingham family.
The screens that Shinn painted were designed for the music room and were removed from the house when Ballard died. Three panels were given to his daughter, Fanny Ballard Horner; two panels were given to another daughter, Mina Breaux Ballard Chambers, and the last five panels were given to an unknown member of the family. The Horners gave their three panels and two lunette drawings to the Speed Museum in 1955. The four panels offered here have been in the hands of various Louisville residents since about 1985; the whereabouts of the remaining three panels remains unknown. Comparison to the three panels in the Speed Museum reveal that they are unquestioningly from the same screen.
Provenance: Commissioned from Everitt Shinn in 1911 by Charles Thurston Ballard (1850-1918) in Louisville, Kentucky
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