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Hugo Ballin's Los Angeles

Caroline Luce, Author

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Reluctant Modernist

Amidst the economic collapse of the 1930s, a rising cadre of artists initiated new debates ideas about art, audience and representation in Los Angeles. Their "eclectic public modernism" departed from the classical, Beaux-Arts traditions in which Hugo Ballin had been trained, and flourished in the films made in the studios of Hollywood, the visual arts, and the public murals painted during the decade. Ballin was openly hostile to this emerging direction, but, as this portion of the exhibit shows, his work in the late 1930s and 1940s shows its subtle influence on his work. To learn about how Ballin's work was influenced by the trend towards modernism, follow the paths below to explore two of his mural projects from the period: his murals at the Griffith Observatory and those at Burbank City Hall.

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