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 Philip Steegman  (1903 - 1952)

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Lived/Active: Louisiana / United Kingdom      Known for: portrait painting, sculpture, illustration

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Philip Steegman
from Auction House Records.
The Chinese Chef (Portrait of Hing)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Philip Steegman (1903-1952).

A portrait painter, sculptor, writer and illustrator, he was the younger brother of the writer on art and architecture John Steegman.  His father, Dr. Edward John Steegmann, of Nottingham, U.K., was a bacteriologist in the Royal Navy.

He was in India in the late 1930s, where he painted and wrote a book titled Indian Ink.

About his book it was said in the New York Times Book Review Section, February 18, 1940:

Philip Steegman's India Ink opens wide avenues of the imagination.  This is not just "another book about India."  It is the highly individual impressionistic picture of that strange subcontinent seen through the occidental eyes of a modern painter".
Jane Spence Southron " "A Thoughtful Artist Wanders in India"

From "A Little Known Anglo-Indian Writer" by Dr. (Mrs.) Ila Rao.  Reader in English, Andhra University, Waltair:
Philip Steegman is least concerned with any imperialistic and political view of the country.

His view is the painter´s view, the sensitive and artistic attitude that can discover beauty in every nook and corner of life.

This book can be considered as a travelogue or a journal of his experiences in Nepal and India.  His description of the country is interesting enough, but what is more unique is his point of view and his attitude which is so different from other English authors who have written on the same theme.  In his foreword to the book, Hugh Walpole is very appreciative of this artistic attitude and he explains it as an attempt on the part of the author to show that "there is life behind the life, a world within a world."  No writer can help noticing the dirt, the disease, the ignorance and the squalor of India, but behind all this is the essential beauty of the Indian spirit, and Philip Steegman understands this quality and he tries to bring it out in his book.  The sense of disillusion that had come over him in the highly artificial social life of the West gives place to a sense of beauty and peace after his experiences in India.


Philip emigrated to America, living in New Orleans where he died in 1952 of his injuries in a fatal car crash.

Information provided by Federico Steegmann, a relative of the artist living in Spain.

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