Lucile Evans, b.1894 - d.1993
Born: 1894 Ogden, Utah
1930, Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles
1932, Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles
1940, Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles (studied with George Biddle)
Died: 1993 Biddeford, Maine
1951, Corcoran Art Gallery, Sixth Annual Area Exhibition, Saint’s Progress, (lithograph).
1952, Corcoran Art Gallery, Seventh Annual Area Exhibition, Unusual Spirits, (painting). 1953, Corcoran Art Gallery, Eighth Annual Area Exhibition, Underground Passage,
1962, National Society of Painters in Casein 8th Annual Exhibition, Wood-Warden
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Little Gallery, Beverly Hills, 1944.
Bonestell Gallery, New York, 1945.
Community Education Gallery, Washington, DC, Recent Paintings, 1947.
Whyte Gallery, Washington, DC, 1954.
Baltimore Museum of Art, 1955.
Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC, Recent Paintings, 1960.
Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC, Recent Paintings, 1962.
Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC, Recent Paintings, 1966.
Catholic University, Washington, DC, Selected Paintings, 1955-1967, 1967.
Emerson Gallery, McLean, Virginia, Prints and Paintings, 1969.
SELECTED DUO EXHIBITIONS
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Contemporary American Artists Series No. 10: Lucile Evans and Barbara Ferrell (her daughter), 1951.
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Yesterday and Tomorrow: Mind Paths in Painting (with Barbara Ferrell), 1992.
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
Golden Gate International Exhibition, San Francisco, 1939.
Dana Point Art Guild, Laguna Beach, California,1940.
Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles, California Creates (traveled to San Francisco Museum of
Modern Art), 1940.
Pasadena Museum of Art, California, The Pendulum of Art,1941.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Third Annual Exhibition, 1942.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, First Group Exhibition of Los Angeles’ Artists, 1943. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Fourth Annual Exhibition, March,1943.
Contemporary Arts Gallery, New York, 1944.
Art Institute of Chicago, 1946.
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Second Annual Exhibition of Paintings by Artists of Washington & Vicinity, 1947.
Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Paintings by Artists of Washington, Baltimore & Vicinity,
American Federation of Art, Washington, DC, Traveling Exhibition (organized by Duncan
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Sixth Annual Area Exhibition, November,1951.Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Seventh Annual Area Exhibition, 1952.
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Recently Acquired Prints from the
Permanent Collection, 1952.
Baltimore Museum of Art, 1st Regional Artists Exhibition,1953.
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Eighth Annual Area Exhibition, 1953.
Library of Congress, Washington, DC, (traveling to Rochester Art Gallery, New York),
Eleventh National Exhibition of Prints,1953.
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 61stAnnual
Exhibition Society of Washington Artists, 1953.
National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 11th Annual Exhibition Artists’ Guild of Washington, 1954.
Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC, 1954.
Baltimore Museum of Art, 2nd Regional Artists Exhibition, Maryland, Delaware and
Washington, DC, 1955.
Workshop Center of the Arts, Washington, DC, Faculty Exhibition: Lucile Evans, Jacob
Kainen, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, 1955.
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Eleventh Annual Area Exhibition, 1956.
National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 13th Annual Exhibition Artists Guild of Washington, DC, 1957.
Baltimore Museum of Art, 3rd Regional Artists Exhibition, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, DC, 1957.
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Thirteenth Annual Area Exhibition,1958.
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (traveling to Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama;
George Thomas Hunter Gallery of Art, Chattanooga; Columbus Museum of Art, Georgia; Georgia Museum of Art, Athens; Norton Gallery, West Palm Beach), Fourteenth Annual Area Exhibition, 1959-1960.
Metropolitan Boston Arts Center, Massachusetts, 8th Boston Arts Festival, 1959. deCordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1959.
Provincetown Art Association, Massachusetts, 1959.
Rockville Art Gallery, Maryland,1960.
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 67th Annual
Exhibition Society of Washington Artists, 1960.
Provincetown Art Association, Massachusetts, 1961.
Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Paintings by Artists of Washington, Baltimore & Vicinity,
National Arts Club, New York, National Society of Painters in Casein 8th Annual Exhibition,
Provincetown Art Association, Massachusetts, 1962.
Provincetown Art Association, Massachusetts, 1963.
National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 70th Annual Exhibition Society of Washington Artists, 1963.
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 66th Annual
National Exhibition, Washington Water Color Association, 1963.
Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Donor Purchase Exhibition, 1964.
Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC, 1964.
National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 67th Annual National Exhibition, Washington Water Color Association, 1964.
Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC, 1965.
Institute of Contemporary Arts, Washington, DC, Washington Water Color Association 69th
National Exhibition, 1967.
International Monetary Fund Gallery, Washington, DC, 1969.
Emerson Gallery, McLean, Virginia, 1969.
Ward-Nasse Gallery, SALON 71, New York, 1971.
Washington Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Collages,1973
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (traveling to Columbia, South Carolina; Macon,
Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; Columbus, Georgia; Memphis, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Knoxville, Tennessee, Blacksburg, Virginia), Southeastern Museums Tour of the Washington Artists Equity, 1972-1973.
Dimock Gallery, George Washington University, Hereward Lester Cooke Foundation Contemporary American Art Exhibition and Auction,1974.
Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC, Works on Paper, 1975.
Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland, Franz Bader Gallery Group Exhibition, 1975 Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC, Christmas Show, 1975.
Superior Court of the District of Columbia, First 20 Years, Art Trust Collection: An Exhibition,
University of Maryland Art Gallery, College Park, Women in Washington Collections, 1979.
SELECTED MUSEUM AND PUBLIC
Howard University Art Gallery, Washington, DC
International Building, Washington, DC
International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Lucile Evans was born in Ogden, Utah in 1894. After relocating to Salt Lake City, her family settled in Los Angeles in 1904. She graduated from the Westlake School for Girls in 1912 and National Park Seminary in Forest Glen, Maryland in 1914. While a student there, she participated in The Women's Suffrage Parade of 1913, which was the first women's rights march in Washington D.C.
After graduation, Evans spent several years acting professionally with a theatre group that toured the United States, before returning to Los Angeles and having a brief career as an extra in silent films. In California, she met and married Paul Ferrell and had one child who was born in 1925, Barbara Ferrell Hero. Evans divorced her husband in 1928, enrolled at the Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles in 1930 and then at the Chouinard Art Institute two years later.
Pursuing her interest in fine art, Evans travelled extensively to expand her pictorial repertoire. In 1934 she moved to New Haven to study egg tempera and a Byzantine gilding process; in 1935 she returned to California to study etching with Arthur Millier in Santa Monica and then with Mildred Bryant Brooks in Pasadena in 1936. She returned to the Otis Art Institute in 1940 to study with George Biddle, a visiting artist best known for his role in establishing The Federal Art Project, which employed artists under the Works Progress Administration.
Evans began her career as an artist exhibiting widely throughout California. In 1939 she participated in the San Francisco World’s Fair. In 1940 she exhibited at the Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles, in a group show which traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Earl Stendahl had emerged
as one of the most innovative and influential art dealers in Southern California, introducing Modern Art to the West Coast with works by Georges
Braque, Marc Chagall, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. In 1941 Lucile Evans exhibited in a group show at the Pasadena Museum of Art with many of these international artists, including: Klee, as well as Raoul Dufy, Maurice de Vlaminck and Fernand Léger, which was curated by Carl Thurston, the
museum’s director. In 1942 through 1944, Lucile Evans participated in 3 group exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, including its 1943 show 12 Painters, Seven Works Apiece. In 1944 she had a solo show at the Little Gallery in
In a review by The Los Angeles Times, Lucile Evans is described as, “this region’s most convincing dreamer in paint. She shows...mysterious embraces in twilit woods, small portraits in which the spectator looks through the physical features into a
vague but intriguing region that seems to be the mind of the sitter.”
In 1944, now in New York, Evans was in a group exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Gallery, East 57th Street. In 1945, she had a solo show at the Bonestell Gallery, which was favorably reviewed by the New York Times Art Critic, Howard Devree.
Admiring the work of Paul Klee and Odilon Redon, both artists who explored expressions of inner psychological states, Evans consistently viewed her paintings as deriving from the subconscious:
“Conscious is what you see; subconscious is what you feel....I am more and more aware of the mystery of existence, life or immediacy and after life which is always beyond our reach....I seek to represent the soul, its spirit, its turmoil, its anguish, its triumph. Not my personal soul, but the universal soul.”
Nature also informed her work; she did not try to represent its external appearances, but, rather express her inward sensations of it. She would respond to the change in seasons, variations of light and shadow, fog, rain, twilight, darkness, warmth and cold, even sounds of silence.
Evans’ early work, completed while in California in the 1940s, was surreal and semi-representational. When she arrived in New York, she was exposed to an abstract art scene that included the European artists Piet Mondrian, Arshile Gorky and Hans Hoffman. She was also introduced to the Abstract Expressionism movement pioneered by the artwork of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Intrigued, Evans began exploring the possibilities of non-representational form in her own work.
In 1947 when she moved to Washington, DC, she became one of the first abstract artists in the region. While in DC, she had the opportunity to study and work with Jacob Kainen, a painter and printmaker from New York who was instrumental in bringing the practice and appreciation of abstract art to the country's capital. From 1950-1955 as a teaching member of the faculty at the Washington Workshop Center for the Arts, she was exposed to Color Field Painting, working alongside Washington Color School painters, Gene Davis, Morris Lewis and Ken Noland. Over the course of her career, Lucile Evans would teach at several other institutions, including the Pasadena Museum in California and the Madeira School in Greenway, Virginia.
Evans continued to exhibit extensively in solo and group exhibitions along the East Coast. Commencing in 1947, she participated in nine annual exhibitions at The Corcoran Gallery of Art; in three of those years her work was award-winning. In 1950 she was in a duo exhibit at the Corcoran with her daughter, Barbara Ferrell, as part of its “Contemporary Artists Series.” In 1952, she was in her first exhibit at the National Collection of Fine Arts, which was exhibiting recently acquired prints from its permanent collection. Evans followed this achievement with four exhibitions at the Baltimore Museum of Art, including a solo exhibition in 1955.
Lucile Evans earned critical praise throughout her career. Charles Buckley, the curator at the Corcoran, gave a gallery talk in which he said:
“Miss Evans takes form, simple, and develops it like music in all her paintings. She is modest, quiet and extremely sensitive. Her color is extraordinary, a remarkable sense. You come into the room and it glows.”
The Washington Post art critic, Gladys Harrison’s review of the same show was equally complementary:
“In looking at Lucile Evans’ work en masse, the impact is stunning and unique.... (she) is an inveterate experimenter in combinational media. Her objective in her own words is ‘to reach the inner meaning of each of life’s phases.’ Granted, such sensitivity must be as elusive to the average person as the subject matter of her paintings. But, this is one case where the surface, textures and colors are so obviously pleasing that they can’t help but sell a little fun to the layman.”
In 1954, The Washington Post art critic Leslie Judd Portner reviewed a solo show of Lucile Evans at Whyte’s Gallery and wrote:
“The artist is no stranger to the Washington scene, having exhibited here regularly for many years. She is one of the most technically proficient artists working in the area, with a poetic and highly personal vision which has evolved through a necessity to express, by means of color and form, a lyrical and almost ecstatic relationship to the universe around her. While the point of departure may at times be a recognizable anecdote or figure, she is able to give the final picture a feeling of timelessness and of metaphysical force, which gives even the smallest painting a great spiritual strength. Her color is as lyric as her subject, at times subtle and greyed, at others full of the rich sonorous tones of stained glass.”
Portner would later praise Evans as "one of the most intellectual of the area artists" following a 1960 solo exhibition at the Franz Bader Gallery.
For the next two decades Lucile Evans continued to paint. Her last public show, Yesterday and Tomorrow: Mind Paths in Painting, opened in 1992 at Harvard’s Schlesinger Library. A joint exhibition with her daughter, Barbara Ferrell Hero, Yesterday was a final reflection on a long and varied career. Evans subsequently became unable to live alone and moved to Wells, Maine, to be with her daughter. She died there in 1993 at age 98.
A selection of Lucile Evans artwork will be on view and available for purchase June 1st through mid August 2019 at Cove Street Arts, 71 Cove Street, Portland, Maine.
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