Van Gogh •
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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.