Hugo Ballin

Hugo Ballin NA (March 7, 1879 – November 27, 1956[3]) was an American artist, muralist, author and film director. Ballin was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters[4] and the National Academy of Design.

Hugo Ballin
Hugo Ballin - Apr 1922 Photoplay.jpg
Ballin in 1922
Born(1879-03-07)March 7, 1879
DiedNovember 27, 1956(1956-11-27) (aged 77)
Years active1910-1925
Spouse(s)Mabel Ballin (m.1909)[2]


Ballin was born in New York City and studied at the Art Students League of New York. When the Wisconsin State Capital was built in the early 20th century, Ballin created 26 murals for its interior.[5] In 1917 he began working for Goldwyn Pictures in New Jersey as an art director and production designer, and in 1921 he moved to Los Angeles at the request of Samuel Goldwyn. He was soon also directing, writing, and producing silent films for his own production company. He was married to the actress Mabel Croft Ballin.

When Hollywood began making talking pictures, Ballin left the film industry to return to his first career as a classically trained artist. He became one of the foremost muralists in the Los Angeles area, producing murals which still stand at landmark locations such as Griffith Observatory, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, LA County General Hospital (now known as Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center), and Burbank City Hall.[6]

Ballin became a National Academician in 1906, when the Society of American Artists, to which he was elected in 1905, merged with the Nation Academy of Design. That same year, Ballin received the National Academy of Design's Thomas B. Clarke Prize for his work, "Mother and Child". In 1940, for his work "The Deposition" depicting Christ being removed from the cross, he was again awarded the Clarke Prize, a rare occurrence in Academy history.[7]

His primary work studio was at his home in Pacific Palisades, California. He is buried in Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery, Santa Monica, location of one of his final commissions, a set of frescoes depicting the life and death of Christ. His work was also part of the painting event in the art competition at the 1932 Summer Olympics.[8]

Selected muralsEdit

A detail from the staircase, Burbank City Hall

Selected bibliographyEdit

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ "HUGO BALLIN, 76, NOTED MURALIST; West Coast Artist Dies-- Had Produced 100 Movies, Including 'East Lynne' Decorated B'nai B'rith Temple". The New York Times. 28 November 1956.
  2. ^ Dearinger, David Bernard (2004). Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design: 1826-1925. ISBN 9781555950293.
  3. ^ "Burbank, CA : Home". Retrieved 3 May 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Auchincloss, Louis; Updike, John (1 January 1998). A Century of Arts & Letters: The History of the National Institute of Arts & Letters and the American Academy of Arts & Letters as Told, Decade by Decade, by Eleven Members. Columbia University Press – via Internet Archive.
  5. ^ - Capitol Tour Archived 2007-05-27 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "LA County Arts Commission - Civic Art Active Projects". Retrieved 3 May 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Dearinger, David Bernard (1 January 2004). Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design: 1826-1925. Hudson Hills. ISBN 9781555950293 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "Hugo Ballin". Olympedia. Retrieved 2 August 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center | Los Angeles Conservancy". Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  10. ^ "Untitled | LA County Arts Commission". Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2011-11-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit