Ernest Albert (1857-1946) American
Birthplace/Origin: Brooklyn, New York
A distinguished theatrical and scenic designer who also became a landscape painter and muralist, Ernest Albert worked in New York, St. Louis, and Chicago.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1857, and showing early talent, he received the Graham Art Medal at age 15, while he was studying at the Brooklyn Art Institute. Though Albert had some early success as a newspaper artist, his introduction to the theater world in 1877 began a career in stage design; he worked on productions starring most of the best-known performers of the day. During this time in 1879, he employed and befriended young Jules Guerin, who went on to become the Lincoln Memorial Muralist.
From New York City, Albert went to St. Louis in 1880 and five years later to Chicago. In 1892, he became involved with the World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago. He was responsible for the color schemes and ornamental design of many of the interiors of buildings in that renowned and successful fair. While in Chicago, he helped found the American Society of Scenic Painters.
In 1894, Albert returned to New York City, where, from then on, his work in scenic design was centered. His Albert Studios did the sets for many successful productions. All along, he had painted whenever he could snatch the time. At the pinnacle of his career in 1905, he began to withdraw gradually from his theater work. His family was settled in the striking new house he had built in New Rochelle, New York; his financial independence was established; and from then on, he devoted most of his considerable talent and energy to his landscapes.
Albert’s landscapes, painted mostly in Old Lyme, Connecticut and later on Monhegan Island, Maine (as well as a few on the West Coast), are simple in composition but subtle in effect. His impressionistic rendering of color and light imbue his quiet country scenes with all the magic of the moment. The gentle strength of these pictures and of his still lifes ensured their popularity and earned him a place as one of America’s respected artists.
Albert was active in several organizations and was a founder and first president of the Allied Artists of America.