Ed Valentine on Ivan Albright

Ivan Albright, Temptation of St. Anthony, 1944/45, oil on canvas, 50 x 60 inches
Ivan Albright, Temptation of St. Anthony, 1944/45, oil on canvas, 50 x 60 inches (Art Institute of Chicago)

Ed Valentine writes about discovering the work of Ivan Albright at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Valentine recalls: "I knew the story of St. Anthony of Egypt and had seen reproductions of versions by Grunewald, Breugel, Bosch and a few others but this thing! Done in the mid, 1940s, it seemed to be smack out of 1960s drug culture. The colors were the colors of moonlight and nightmares, yet the yellows, purples and blues felt like they were straight from the tube. It sat there noisy and flat on the picture plane. The composition came at you as if someone had just thrown a hand full of marbles in your face. It was all over the place with no focal point and no balance. Then you found yourself dead center with the whole thing spinning in a dizzying radial balance."