Thursday, January 7, 2016

Walter Everett: Two Works in Progress

Walter H. Everett (1880-1946), a student of the great Howard Pyle, was an exceptionally good illustrator who had a couple of character flaws. One was an inability to meet deadlines, a trait that surely impeded his career. Another problem emerged late in life when he destroyed many of his works. Some assert that he got rid of what he considered lesser stuff, and there might be something to that idea because a number of fine paintings of his still exist.

I wrote about Everett here and here. The Kelly Collection holds an important Everett: a link is here. Armand Cabrera provides some biographical information here.

Cabrera's post is illustrated using examples mostly from an early phase of his career, before he developed his mature style. It is Everett's mature illustrations that astonish me. Fortunately, there are at least two examples of his work that seem to be unfinished because of their appearance and the lack of a signature. They therefore provide interesting clues as to how Everett went about building up his classic images.


This is one of Everett's finest works to set the scene. Click on it and the others to enlarge.

For comparison, here is a finished (or nearly so) illustration with similar colors to the unfinished examples below. Some internet sites displaying this image state that the man is a soldier. From what I can tell, the setting is the American Southwest, most likely northern New Mexico. The man is dressed in riding or work clothes, not an army uniform.

Everett blocks in the image using lines and flatly painted areas laid over an undertone wash or scumble. He then works on background detail before tackling the foreground.

Faces and other key details are painted in the round, most of the rest being larger and smaller areas of flat paint.

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UPDATE (9 January 2016):
I'm wondering if the three illustrations immediately above were all part of the same project that got canceled. The subjects and color schemes are related. The illustration that seems finished has not been signed (unless a signature got cropped). Does any reader know exactly what we have here?


Anonymous said...

Couple on hillside & in orchard, are published illustrations for, Young Lovyer by Stephen Vincent Benét, Country Gentleman, February 1934.

Southwestern couple: Indian Summer by Brooke Hanlon, Ladies Home Journal, November 1934.

Donald Pittenger said...

Anonymous -- Appreciate the information. I am puzzled that work that seems so unfinished actually reached publication. Perhaps the quality of color printing in those days helped disguise this.

kev ferrara said...

Hey, Donald. The 1934 unfinished illustrations for Young Lovyer were printed in B/w. You can see how they were printed here:

Having seen the original of the vertical one in person, I can say it is much more dazzling and impressive in person.

Donald Pittenger said...

Kev -- Thank you for the link: much appreciated.

And where do you get to see Everetts in person? There was an exhibit in a small museum in the Napa area of California a while ago (that I missed), and Kelley has a painting (that was NOT at the Pepperdine exhibit that David Apatoff curated). But I'm clueless regarding other options.