“A native of Lehi, Utah, Edwin Evans did not decide to become an artist until almost thirty years of age. After initially studying with local artists in Salt Lake City, he left for France in 1890. This was just two years after the arrival in Paris of the first Utah artist, James Taylor Harwood, a boyhood acquaintance of Evans from Lehi. Soon after arriving in France, Evans joined a small group of Utah painters whose Paris art studies were being financed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In exchange for the art training, the artists were contracted upon their return to paint murals for the temple in Salt Lake City, which was nearing completion.
In Paris, Evans enrolled in Academie Julian, but like many other American students entrenched in academic studies he sought relief painting outdoors on the weekends and during the summer. The time he spent in the countryside near Paris inspired the major plein air work Grain Fields. After returning to Utah, Evans exhibited the painting at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where it won an honorable mention.
Evans’ haystacks can be viewed as symbols of survival and self-contained efficiency. Perhaps combining a joyful American optimism and a Utah/Mormon respect for hard work and industry, Evans’ Grain Fields celebrates the fecundity of the land and rejoices in a harvest scene that was reminiscent of home.”
Excerpt taken from 150 Years of American Painting
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