Everett Shinn (1876-1953)

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Shinn, Strong Man, Clown and Dancer

Strong Man, Clown and Dancer

Shinn, Vanity Fair cover

Vanity Fair cover

Everett Shinn was an American painter of the Ashcan School. Shinn was born in the Quaker community of Woodstown, New Jersey but became known as a New York artist. At the age of fourteen, Shinn left Woodstown to attend a two-year, technical institution known as the Spring Garden Institute. The school specialized in mechanical drawing and architecture. Shinn spent a year working at the Thackery Gas Fixture Works designing light fixtures after graduating from trade school.

Shinn, Bowery Museum

Bowery Museum

In 1893 Shinn was hired as an illustrator for the Philadelphia Press. Shinn had great success as an illustrator and worked for numerous papers. Shinn eventually relocated to New York to work for “The World” which covered international news. In 1899 Shinn was hired by Ainslee’s Magazine and simultaneously started exhibiting his paintings.

Shinn, Self-Portrait


Shinn, Tightrope Walker

Tightrope Walker

New York City became the main subject matter of Shinn’s paintings. Shinn depicted dramatic scenes of urban violence and social struggles. In 1907, Shinn exhibited with the Ashcan School, a group of eight painters who challenged academic painting standards. The painters were known for their realistic, un-idealized urban scenes.

Shinn, New York street scene

New York street scene

Eventually, Shinn travelled to Europe for an exhibition, where he was exposed to new artists and trends. Shinn was inspired by paintings of theatrical performers and started integrating theatrical themes into his own work. Shinn eventually steered away from illustrations and began receiving mural commissions. Shinn completed a series of seven murals, including multi-panel piece for the Belasco Stuyvesant Theatre.

Shinn, Outdoor Stage, France

Outdoor Stage, France

Shinn, Dancer in White Before the Footlights, 1910

Dancer in White Before the Footlights, 1910

Shinn, Green Ballet

Green Ballet

Shinn, Portrait of a woman

Portrait of a woman

Shinn, Footlight Flirtation

Footlight Flirtation

Shinn, Central Park, 1920

Central Park, 1920

Shinn, The Orchestra Pit

The Orchestra Pit

Shinn, Washington Square

Washington Square

Shinn, Steps Between Houses, Paris

Steps Between Houses, Paris

Shinn experimented with a variety of media, ranging from oil, gouache and pastel. In the tradition of the Ashcan painters, Shinn painted people from diverse classes and backgrounds. Many of Shinn’s paintings depicted views his apartment window. Like the impressionist painters, Shinn also spent a great deal of his time painting outside. Shinn loved spending time in parks and public spaces, painting people in the bustling, growing city. Shinn’s scenes of New York have become important in documenting American life at the turn of the century.

The paintings of Everett Shinn are now in private collections and museums in New York and across the United States. Do you think you own a painting by Everett Shinn? Contact us. We are the Everett Shinn experts.