Sunday, June 21, 2015

Bert Geer Phillips in Hudson

Our post on Friday about Bert Geer Phillips inspired Neal Van Deusen to share with Gossips his family connection with the Hudson-born artist. As children, Van Deusen's grandfather, Charles Henderson Van Deusen, and his great-aunt, Lulu Brownell Van Deusen, were models for some of Phillips' paintings. It seems Phillips worked from photographs, and Van Deusen provided Gossips with images of a photograph of his grandfather and great-aunt and of the painting Phillips made from that photograph.

According to one biography, Phillips left Hudson at the age of sixteen, which would have been 1884, to go to New York City to study at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design. This picture is evidence that Phillips did not go to New York and never come back. Charles Van Deusen was born in 1885, and his sister Lulu was born in 1884. In the photograph, the children look to be about six or seven, which suggests that it was taken in 1891 or 1892. So it seems that even though he studied in New York City, Phillips continued to live and work in Hudson until 1894, when he left for London and set out on the course of events that would eventually take him to New Mexico.

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