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Evergood, Miles (1871–1939)

by Richard Haese

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

Miles Evergood (1871-1939), artist, was born Myer Blashki on 10 January 1871 at Carlton, Melbourne, eleventh child of Philip Blashki, jeweller, and his wife Anna, née Imergud; his Polish parents had married in Manchester, England, before migrating. Little is known of Blashki's early education. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the 2nd Victorian Regiment in September 1890 and served for four years. His main interest, however, was art, and in the early 1890s he studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne, under George Folingsby and Bernard Hall. He was a member of the Bohemian student group, the Prehistoric Order of Cannibals, which included Max Meldrum, Will Dyson, George Coates and the Lindsay brothers. His satirical cartoons on political events appeared in Melbourne Punch and the Champion.

After unsuccessfully competing for the travelling scholarship in 1896, Blashki worked in Sydney for two years before leaving Australia in 1898 accompanied by a fellow student, Frank McComas. En route for New York, he worked on the Honolulu Evening Bulletin and the San Francisco Examiner. He went on to London where on 10 February 1900 at St Martin-in-the-Fields he married Flora Jane Perry; their son Philip was born in New York next year. About that time Blashki changed his name to Miles Evergood. His work received critical recognition, and as well as being elected a life member of the New York Lotos Club, he exhibited at the National Academy of Design. A retrospective exhibition was held in 1909 at the Salmagundi Club, New York.

Evergood had left Australia as an admirer of Whistler. While in New York he was struck by the works of the French Impressionists and in London by those of later masters in Roger Fry's Post-Impressionist exhibitions in 1910 and 1912. He probably also worked at this time in Paris. In London he exhibited with the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers and the New English Art Club. After the outbreak of war he enlisted for service and worked in the War Office.

About 1930, after the death of his first wife, Evergood married in New York Pauline Konitzer, a rug-designer many years his junior. In 1931 he returned to Australia with his wife and lived in Brisbane, where he was a member of the Royal Queensland Art Society, and later Sydney; he arrived in Melbourne in 1935 and established a home at Kalorama in the Dandenongs. In Sydney (1933) and Melbourne (December 1935) he held exhibitions of landscapes, portraits and flower subjects. Fundamentally an Impressionist, his robust style was characterized by an exuberant sense of colour and vigorous, expressive brush-strokes and use of palette knife. The bold impasto effects reflected the influence of the English artists Walter Sickert, Wilson Steer and Duncan Grant, rather than Pierre Bonnard or André Dunoyer de Segonzac with whom he has been linked.

Evergood died of cancer on 3 January 1939 in a Melbourne hospital and was cremated. He was survived by his second wife and his son who, after education in England at Eton College, the University of Cambridge and the University of London Slade School, became a leading social realist painter in America before his death in 1973.

Select Bibliography

  • Art in Australia, 15 Apr 1933, p 17
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Jan 1933
  • Herald (Melbourne), 19 Nov 1935
  • Bulletin, 20, 25 Nov, 11 Dec 1935
  • Argus (Melbourne), 4 Dec 1935, 4 Jan 1939
  • Melville Haysom's art exhibitions original book, Fryer MSS 51/13 (University of Queensland Library).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Richard Haese, 'Evergood, Miles (1871–1939)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/evergood-miles-6123/text10501, published in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 31 October 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 8, (MUP), 1981

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