Ivan ALBRIGHT (born February 20, 1897, Harvey, Illinois—died November 18, 1983, Woodstock, Vermont) and his identical twin brother, Malvin, were born near Chicago in North Harvey, Illinois. Their father was a landscape painter, and came from a family of master gunsmiths, whose original name was "Albrecht". The brothers were inseparable during childhood, and throughout much of their young adulthood. Both enrolled in The Art Institute of Chicago, a coin-flip deciding that Ivan would study painting and Malvin sculpture. Ivan particularly admired the work of El Greco and Rembrandt, but was quick to develop a style all his own.
Albright focused on a few themes through most of his works, particularly death, life, the material and the spirit, and the effects of time. He painted very complex works, and their titles matched their complexity. Albright was a prolific artist throughout his life, working as a printer and engraver as well as a painter. He made his own paints and charcoal, and carved his own elaborate frames. He was a stickler for detail, creating elaborate setups for paintings before starting work. He was obsessive about lighting to the point that he painted his studio black, and wore black clothing to cut out potential glare.