Art History Happy Hour - Dorian Gray Hound

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Last week in Art History Happy Hour I popped the cork on my new Fall goal to infuse horror and art into alcohol by bringing you the Bloody Screamsicle Munchmosa.  

Munch to my lazy chagrin, I needn’t have gotten so creative with my cocktail. A glaringly obvious choice for art and horror mixology was literally staring at me from the top of a stack of DVDs in the form of 1945’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.  And thus I bring you A Pitcher of Dorian Grayhounds.


image via chowhound

I went easy on myself this week for our spooky spirit; it is literally just a Greyhound recipe expanded to party size. I’m not one to mess with a ready-made pun, they are things of beauty and should remain as undiluted as your cocktails. Here goes:

A Pitcher of Dorian Grayhounds


9 oz vodka

18 oz grapefruit juice (preferably fresh)


Combine in a pitcher over ice. Stir. Serve over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit, lemon, or sprig of rosemary. Serves 6.


The young, hot and innocent Dorian Gray. This portrait by Henrique Medina sold at auction in March 2015 for $149,000.

You may wonder, what is an Oscar-winning film doing mixed up in a blog like this? Well, while today’s audiences may consider The Picture of Dorian Gray based on Oscar Wilde’s 1890 novel of the same name to be more of a drama than a horror this tale of man’s propensity for straight up evil douchedom is philosophically terrifying. The premise of the story (spoilers warning for those who live under a rock) is that while posing for a portrait Dorian Gray outwardly wishes that the picture would age instead of him so he can live a life of beautiful, youthful pleasure. His wish granted and soul sold, Gray’s life becomes more and more selfishly excessive.  He maintains the appearance of a perfect gentleman while his portrait reflects his physical and moral decay (one presumes most politicians and film stars have one of these in their attic).

If this contemplation on the nature of the human condition isn’t scary enough for you (it should be) the literal Picture of Dorian Gray should convince you of this film’s horror status. In a brilliant move the movie is entirely in black in white except for 3 shots of the portrait itself, the last of which reveals the truly grotesque man that Gray has become. The shot also reveals what is, in my opinion, one of the greatest set paintings of all time.  


Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril – Oscar Wilde

Artist Ivan Le Lorriane Albright was commissioned by MGM to create the painting of Gray’s true self. The absolutely awesome and grotesque painting (above) was painted while the film was shooting so he could make alterations to the piece in correlation with Gray’s corruption. Albright’s twin brother and fellow artist Malvin was originally selected to paint the uncorrupted portrait but the studio changed their minds and used Henrique Medina’s version in the film. If you’re in the Chicago area go visit this painting in it’s disgustingly detailed glory at the Art Institute of Chicago. Can’t make it to Chicago? No problem. The Picture of Dorian Gray is available on DVD and features both portraits in glorious Technicolor! Did I mention the movie stars a young Angela Lansbury who looks and sings like an angel? I’ll toast to that.


By: Sarah Oesterling

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Sarah Oesterling


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