Hugo Ballin

Name
Hugo Ballin
Born
New York, New York 1879
Died
Santa Monica, California 1956
Active in
  • Pacific Palisades, California
Nationalities
U.S. States
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI
Luce Artist Biography

Early in his career, Hugo Ballin painted idealized scenes of mythical figures and stories. His career took a detour after World War I, however, when he moved to Hollywood to become an art director. He returned to painting after a few years and created large, colorful murals for many public buildings on the West Coast. In 1936 he played a trick on the New Deal administrators who were granting mural projects to artists. He submitted eight designs: seven serious proposals and one “hoax” that showed scenes of heavy drinking, suicide, violence, and sex. To his surprise, this entry was chosen by the United States Treasury for a post office in Inglewood, California, and Ballin had to explain that he “would not think of accepting taxpayers’ money for painting . . . a mess of cooked-up vulgarity” on a post office wall.