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 Philip Howard (Blashki) Evergood  (1901 - 1973)

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Lived/Active: New York/Connecticut      Known for: social surreal genre and abstraction painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Philip Evergood
Facts/Data
Birth
1901 (New York City)
 
Death
1973 (Bridgeport, Connecticut)

Lived/Active
New York/Connecticut




Often Known For
social surreal genre and abstraction painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in New York City with the name Philip Blashki, he became, with the name Philip Evergood, one of the leading modernists of the 20th Century with styles combining abstraction and realism and subjects in the 1930s that made him one of the leading social realists in New York City.

He was raised in London, England where he moved in 1909 with his parents until 1923. He studied at Eton and Cambridge University and then at the Slade School with Henry Tonks and Havard Thomas. Returning to New York, he was a student of George Luks and William von Schlegell at the Art Students League.

From 1924 to 1926, he traveled in Europe and studied in Paris at the Academie Julian and again lived abroad from 1929 to 1931. He was especially influenced by the Spanish artist El Greco. During the 1930s, he was a muralist for the W.P.A. in the Federal Art Project, and his mural work includes The Story of Richmond Hill for the library in that part of New York City, and another work, Cotton from Field to Mill for the Post Office in Jackson, Georgia.

Politically active, he served as President of the New York Artists Union. He also taught at various institutions in the 1940s, and in 1952 moved to Southbury, Connecticut and two years later to Bridgeport until his death.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Evergood focused on many Biblical themes with a distorted style reflective of both Cezanne and El Greco in that his figures seemed to be in fanciful worlds or "imagined space". (Baigell) By 1935, he did American Scene painting with politically and social-message works whose themes were the unhappiness of people caught in the Depression.  In 1937, his painting, Art on the Beach, which was part of his solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Melbourne, caused a riot led by some academics who were furious about the paintings modernist style.  Sir John Longstaff, Australian artist, went to the defense of Evergood, and helped raise money for the subsequent gift of the painting to Melbourne's National Gallery.  In the 1940s, Evergood distanced himself from political and social issues to figures that were more fanciful and free seeming.

Source:
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
"Art", Life Magazine, October 4, 1937, p. 126

This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Philip Evergood was born in New York City on October 26, 1901.  His father, an artist named Meyer Blashki, was an Australian Jew of Polish descent who had emigrated to the United States, but his mother was a member of a well-to-do Anglican family who was determined to have her son educated in her native England.  When Philip failed to get past the Committee of Admirals for entrance into the Royal Naval Training College, his father fired off an angry letter to the First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill, demanding to know whether the boy's last name had influenced the admirals.  Convinced that it had, Meyer Blashki renamed himself and his son Evergood and the boy duly did time at both Eton and Cambridge.  But Cambridge and Philip did not long agree, for he finally made up his mind that all he wanted to do was paint.
 
He studied art at the Slade School in London, Julian Academie in Paris, and the Art Students' League of New York. He met his wife Julia in Paris and they eventually settled in Manhattan.  On canvas, Evergood's figures were apt to be as chunky as himself, his colors applied in solid, intrically designed blocks.  But the mood could be as soft as a glow. Occasionally Evergood would vent his rage against the world in brilliant clashing clutters of symbolic figures.  But there remains an almost childlike sweetness that he had never been able to outgrow.

During the 1930s he was a muralist for the Works Progress Administration and was President of the New York Artists Union.  He taught at various institutions in the 1940s and in 1952 moved to Southbury, Connecticut and two years later to Bridgeport where he lived until his death in 1973.

Sources include:
Time Magazine, April 18, 1960

Compiled and written by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.


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