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 Philip Clarkson Elliott  (1903 - 1985)

About: Philip Clarkson Elliott


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Lived/Active: New York/Pennsylvania/Minnesota      Known for: landscape, marine and cityscape painting, teaching and photography

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A painter of widely varied subject matter and style and whose work has been compared to that of Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler and Ralston Crawford, Philip Elliott was both a respected artist and a distinguished art educator.  He was married to painter Virginia Cuthbert, whose painting career ultimately eclipsed that of her husband.

As a painter, his "works explored the precepts of traditionalism, cubism, abstraction, and surrealism . . . and his subjects included still-lifes, landscapes, industrial monuments, and portraits."

Having been active in Pittsburgh, he moved to Buffalo, New York in 1941 to take the directorship of the Albright Art School, connected to the city's major museum, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.  In 1954, he left the directorship of the Art School to chair the Art Department of the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Among exhibition venues for Elliott were the Carnegie Institute of Fine Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Source: by Dean Brownrout

Biography from Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc.:
Philip Clarkson Elliott (American, 1903-1985) noted Buffalo, NY artist, photographer, teacher, and lecturer is known for his modern industrial landscapes, marine scenes and cityscapes.  He primarily worked in oils and watercolors, but also worked in pencil, pen & ink and charcoal.  Elliott’s work over the course of his professional career slowly moved from realism towards abstraction. As an artist, he is quoted as saying, “It’s a compulsive thing. Sometimes its unhappy, sometimes, it’s very satisfying. Overall, I wouldn’t be anything else.”

Elliott was the assistant professor of fine arts at the University of Pittsburgh from 1934-40 and later became the director at the Albright Art School in 1941 and served there until 1954.  He then taught full time as the professor of painting and drawing and was one of the founders of the Department of Art, at the State University of Buffalo, along side his wife, noted Buffalo artist Virginia Cuthbert-Elliott (American, 1908-2001).  He later became first Chairman of the Art Department, serving for fifteen years until 1969.  He established, along with his wife, the Philip C. and Virginia Cuthbert Elliott Painting Scholarship at the University at Buffalo, which is awarded annually to a junior majoring in the painting art program.

Like his wife, Elliott also started drawing at an early age.  When he was seven years old, he illustrated a letter to Santa that read, “Dear Santa Claus: I will be good boy. I sent you a letter the other day…and I hope I will get a great many toys and I will hope you will bring the poor little childrdn (sic) a lot of toys.”-Philip Elliott.  The letter and drawing were later exhibited at the “Retrospective-Virginia Cuthbert and Philip Elliott”, Charles Burchfield Center 1971, Buffalo State University College, Buffalo, NY.

Elliott studied art at the University of Minnesota from 1921-23, and received his B.F.A. from Yale University in 1926.  He furthered his studies later in Paris, France.

1903- Born, Minneapolis, MN.

1930- Met his future wife to be, Virginia Cuthbert the second day she was in Paris, France, for her art studies abroad.

1935- Married noted artist Virginia Cuthbert to settle in Pittsburg, PA.

1941- The couple moved to Buffalo when Philip became director of the Albright Art School, Buffalo, NY.

1943- Exhibited at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, PA.

1944- Exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

1945- Exhibited at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, PA.

1952- Exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, and at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC.

1962- Exhibited at the New York State Fair, Syracuse, NY.

1962-68- Exhibited at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, and at the Western New York Exhibition (prize 1965).

1965- Exhibited at the “29th Western New York Exhibition”, Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

1971- Exhibited with wife Virginia Cuthbert-Elliott, “Retrospective-Virginia Cuthbert and Philip Elliott”, featured more than 120 works in the Rockwell Hall, Charles Burchfield Center, Buffalo State University College, Buffalo, NY. Retired from Chairman at the Art Department, University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.

1985- Died, Buffalo, NY.

Exhibited also at: “Abstraction”, The Burchfield-Penney Art Center 2005, Buffalo, NY; The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

Member of: The Patteran Society from 1950-78, Buffalo, NY; College Art Association of America, NYC; National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Reston, VA.

Honors & Prizes: Chaloner Prize, Chaloner Prize Foundation, NYC; Albright Art Gallery (prizes 1949 & 1952), Buffalo, NY; Springville, NY (1962) and the Western New York Exhibition (1965), Buffalo, NY.

Collections In: University of Pittsburg, Pittsburg, PA; The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Buffalo, NY.

Permanent displays at: University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY; The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

Elliott sketched and painted throughout Western New York, New York State & New York City, Pennsylvania, Paris, London, Cuba, Mexico, and Haiti among others.

Publications: Photograph in “Burchfield’s Buffalo”, Art News “Charles Burchfield Painted Memories”, Vol. 43, May 1st, 1944, pp. 12-13.

(Rewritten & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 12/2007. Sources: Buffalo Evening News, “Days of Courtship Are Recalled In Display of Elliott Paintings” article & quotes, November 13th, 1971; UB Reporter, Virginia’s obituary, Thursday, February 15, 2001; The Buffalo News, “Portrait of an Artist”, article by Richard Huntington, News Critic and the quote, Tuesday, November 5, 1996; Who was Who in American Art, 1999; “Charles Burchfield Painted Memories”,; “Abstraction”, exhibit,; The Wayward Muse: A Historical Survey of Painting in Buffalo, by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Susan Krane, Curator, 1987; Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Chaloner Prize Foundation records online, 1915-1974)



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