Philip Evergood was born Philip Howard Blashki in New York City in 1901. His father, Miles Evergood Blashki, an Australian poet and artist of Polish descent, changed the family name soon thereafter. Following his upbringing in New York, his British mother campaigned for the young Philip’s education to be conducted in England, where he attended the boarding school Eton, and then Cambridge University. It was in Europe during the first world war that Evergood began to develop an interest for imaginative depictions of biblical scenes and historical battles. Evergood developed his art studies at London’s Slade School of Art before returning to New York to study at the Art Students League with George Luks and William von Schlegell and then to Paris to attend the Académie Julian briefly where he studied with André Lhote.
On his second homecoming to New York in 1931, Evergood found an America reeling from the Great Depression. He was aghast at the poverty and the physical and emotional distress he witnessed, and his painting style changed accordingly. Though tempered by fantasy, wry humor, and an obscure personal symbolism, social criticism characterizes what today is regarded as his most significant work. Typical themes include political oppression, racial discrimination, coarse life among the urban poor, and the mundane amusements of people uninspired or oblivious to nobler pursuits.
Evergood was soon recognized for his skill and the collector Joseph H. Hirshhorn purchased several of his paintings. Assigned to work on various WPA mural projects from 1934 to 1937, well known murals by the Artist include The Story of Richmond Hill for a public library in Queens, NY and Cotton from Field to Mill for a Post Office in Jackson, Georgia. Evergood was a full member of the Art Students League of New York and the National Institute of Arts and Letters and served as President of the New York Artists Union. In 1952, Evergood moved to Connecticut where he lived until his death two decades later in his Bridgewater home.
Works by Philip Evergood are included in many important museum collections, including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C.; the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio; the Tate Gallery in London; and the Vatican Museum in Vatican City, Italy.