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Artist Biography

Everett Shinn was the youngest member of the Eight, a group of artists who rebelled against the National Academy of Design's conservative restrictions over artistic style and execution with a new and uncompromising American realist vision. Shinn, together with George Luks, William Glackens, John Sloan, Robert Henri, Ernest Lawson, Maurice Prendergast, and Arthur B. Davies, portrayed the streets of New York in an honest, almost gritty fashion.

Shinn was born in Woodstown, New Jersey. In the autumn of 1893 he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and, like many of his fellow students, worked for the Philadelphia Press as an artist-reporter creating on-the-spot sketches of news events. Through this experience, he honed his distinctive drawing style characterized by striking angles and emphatic gestures. More than his colleagues, Shinn freed himself from the confines of traditional pen and ink drawing, and utilized different media within the same sketch or illustration. It was a technique that added great depth and gradation of tone and color to his work.

Shinn first moved to New York in 1897 and was immediately infatuated with the energy of the city and its people. Upon his arrival, he continued his newspaper work, but was soon illustrating for popular magazines while gaining recognition as a fine artist. He sold his work regularly, and participated in major exhibitions, including the landmark show of the Eight at Macbeth Galleries. Shinn's New York was a colorful, sensational and ever-changing place; he painted scenes of the Bowery, Fifth Avenue, elegant ladies and gentlemen, clowns, acrobats, actresses, and the common man and woman. Shinn had a deep affection for the theatre, and he chose his subjects for their memorable and dramatic aspects.

Shinn had an inquisitive nature, a quality that helped him to be both a great illustrator-reporter and a fine artist, and he had a deep affection for the theater. Productions of all sorts fascinated him and he chose his subjects for their memorable and dramatic aspects. When Everett Shinn and the Ashcan artists combed the streets for a story, they created some of the most important and cherished images in American art.

Shinn’s work can be seen in numerous prestigious collections, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York.