About this Collection
Hugo Ballin was born March 7, 1879 in New York City. He attended the Art Students League in New York, spent several years traveling and studying in Italy, and became a portrait painter. In 1917, he began working as an art director for Goldwyn Pictures and subsequently moved to California in 1921. In the 1920s, he began writing, producing, and directing films, and formed his own production company, Hugo Ballin Productions, Inc. Ballin's wife, actress Mabel Croft Ballin, was featured in his silent film adaptations of literary classics, such as Jane Eyre (1921) and Vanity Fair (1923). With the advent of talking pictures, Ballin retired from film to focus on painting and writing. As a noted muralist, he completed a number of significant commissioned works across the country during the course of his career, including murals at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and at the State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin. He designed a seventeen-foot medallion of Pallas Athena which hung over the entrance to the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. He also published several novels, including The Woman at the Door (1925), Stigma (1928), and Dolce Far Niente (1933). Ballin was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the National Academy of Design. He lived in Pacific Palisades until he died in 1956.