The Artistic Journey of Eugene Thomason
A product of the industrialized New South, Eugene Healan Thomason (1895–1972) made the obligatory pilgrimage to New York to advance his art education and launch his career. Like so many other aspiring American artists, he understood that the city offered unparalleled personal and professional opportunities for a promising young painter in the early 1920s. Thomason returned to the South in the early 1930s, living first in Charlotte, North Carolina, before settling in a small Appalachian crossroads called Nebo. For the next thirty-plus years, he mined the rural landscape's rolling terrain and area residents for inspiration. Eugene Thomason embraced and convincingly portrayed his own region, becoming the visual spokesman for that place and its people.
In her book, From New York to Nebo: The Artistic Journey of Eugene Thomason (2014, USC Press), based on art from the Johnson Collection of Spartanburg, SC, Martha Severens carefully chronicles the life of Eugene Thomason and his embrace of North Carolina. Severens is joined by the Johnson Collection’s director, David Henderson, talking about Thomason, Southern art, and the Johnson Collection on this week's edition Walter Edgar's Journal.
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