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Hugo Ballin's Los Angeles

Caroline Luce, Author

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Wisconsin State Capitol

“These decorations by Hugo Ballin are indeed an achievement for so young an artist. They show an intellectual grasp of the subjects depicted and a freedom of expression that is rare. They are typically American in their conception… there is a blending of the real and that which lies beyond the real... of the realistic, necessary for the portrayal of the historic side to please the commissioners who must be considered, with the allegory where the artist is given free rein to his invention… It should be cause for great encouragement to us as a nation that our young artists, absolutely American by training and ideals, are proving themselves equal to the demand laid upon them to produce works of art of dignity and importance, truly American and representative of the artistic impulse that is undoubtably stirring at the heart of the Nation. We are beginning to express ourselves artistically.” - Ada Rainey, The International Studio, 1914

Hugo Ballin was born in New York and spent his young life training with some of the foremost talents of the American art scene. He travelled in Europe to continue his training and became a rising star in the Beaux-Arts movement when he returned. His reputation earned him his first major mural commission: to decorate the Executive Chamber at the new Wisconsin State Capitol. Follow this path to explore Hugo Ballin's early life and arts education, his ascendance in the Beaux-Arts movement, the artistic ideals that colored his earliest works, and how those ideals flavored his painting style, as shown in his murals at the Wisconsin State Capitol.
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