, 1897-1983. Born near Chicago
, he began painting at an early age, encouraged by his father
, a portrait painter
. Termed a 'magic realist
' for attention to and distorted emphasis of ordinary portrait flaws, he devoted his career to a study of decay
and the passage of time
; most of his paintings depict old or aging men and women, emphasizing wrinkle
s and defect
s by using strongly contrasted lighting effects on a dull, matte
background, with meticulous
attention to detail
. In his own words: "I just can't seem to paint nice things".
Perhaps his two most famous paintings are entitled 'Into the World There Came a Soul Named Ida' and 'That which I should have done I did not do', both currently in the Art Institute of Chicago. He was also the obvious choice for a commission to paint a much publicized portrait of Dorian Gray.