Philip Evergood (1901 - 1973)
Seeking a Future, 1952
Oil on board
24 x 18 inches
Signed and dated at lower left: Philip Evergood / 52
Alfredo Valente, New York
Mrs. Murray Handwerker, Lawrence, New York
The Gallery of Modern Art, New York, Philip Evergood: A Painter of Ideas, 1969, no. 45.
Alfredo Valente, Philip Evergood: A Painter of Ideas, South Brunswick and New York: A. S. Barnes and Company, 1969, p. 20, cat. no. 45, cover illustration in color and illustrated in black and white.
John I. H. Baur, Philip Evergood, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1975, plate 100, illustrated in black and white.
Philip Evergood was born in New York, the son of an Englishwoman and an Australian artist who changed his name legally from Blashki in 1915. Evergood's education began in 1905 with music lessons and by 1908 he played the piano in a concert with his teacher. He attended various English boarding schools from 1909 onward and was educated mainly at Eton and Cambridge University. In 1921 he decided to study art, left Cambridge, and went to London to study with Tonks at the Slade School. There he learned to draw under his teacher's rigid instruction. In 1923 Evergood went back to New York where he studied at the Art Students League for a year. He then returned to Europe, worked at various jobs in Paris, painted independently, and studied at the Académie Julian, both with André Lhote and with William Hayter; from the latter he learned the techniques of engraving. He returned to New York in 1926 and began a career that was marked by the hardships of severe illness, an almost fatal operation, and constant financial trouble.
Recognition of his talent was sporadic and slow, and it was not until the great collector Joseph H. Hirshhorn purchased several of his paintings at once that he could consider his financial troubles over. Evergood worked on WPA art projects from 1934 to 1937, taught both music and art as late as 1943, and finally moved to Southbury, Connecticut, in 1952. The long list of Evergood's influences include El Greco, Bosch, Brueghel, Goya, Daumier, Toulouse-Lautrec, Sloan's Ashcan paintings, and even prehistoric cave art. Evergood is noted for his deliberately awkward drawing and his spontaneous bold lines. His skillfully organized sophisticated compositions are often humorous, frequently fantastic, and sometimes openly symbolic. His color is never conventional but rather evokes an extremely personal mood that reveals the artist as both militantly social and warmly sensuous.
In 1936 he moved to Woodstock, New York, and that year he took part in the "219" strike protesting layoffs from the Federal Arts Project. In 1952 he moved to Southbury, Connecticut. He died in Bridgewater, Connecticut on March 11, 1973, killed in a house fire.
Social realist works by Philip Evergood are in fifty major museums including: Allentown Art Museum; Arizona State University Art Museum; Butler Institute of American Art; Chrysler Museum of Art; Corcoran Gallery of Art; Dallas Museum of Art; Frederick R Weisman Art Museum; Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Hunter Museum of American Art; Jack S Blanton Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Gallery of Art; National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; Neuberger Museum of Art; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University; Smith College Museum of Art; Smithsonian American Art Museum; The Arkansas Arts Center; The Baltimore Museum of Art; The Brooklyn Museum of Art; The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art; The Toledo Museum of Art; The University of Arizona Museum of Art; The University of Arizona Museum of Art; The University of Michigan Museum of Art; University of Wyoming Art Museum; Vatican Museum: Picture Gallery; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.