Threshold to Success

Philip Evergood

Threshold to Success


Philip Evergood (1901-1973)




Oil on gessoed celotex board


67 1/2 x 36 1/4 in. (171.45 x 92.075 cm.)

Accession #:


Credit Line:

Joseph E. Temple Fund


Born in New York City as Philip Blashki, Evergood moved with his family to London when he was a child. To avoid prejudice there, his name was legally changed to Evergood at the age of thirteen. A musician in his youth, he studied at Eton and Cambridge University before beginning his art education at the Slade School. Returning to New York in 1923, Evergood’s early work engaged biblical themes but with the onset of the Depression he shifted to Social Realism, focusing on political oppression and racism in several impressive murals painted for the WPA. Politically active, Evergood served as president of the New York Artists Union.

In the 1950s, Evergood turned to images that combined fantasy with biblical and mythological symbolism. A prime example of this later style, "Threshold to Success"started as a demonstration for students in a summer class but evolved into a painting depicting the erotic dreams of a young athlete-turned-scholar. He holds a large book bearing the title "Tome" that has a multitude of names inscribed upon it. Most prominent are the names of Old Testament figures such as Adam, Ham, and Noah, but these names coexist with a great array of other allusions, including Orphan Annie, Piet Mondrian, Betsy Ross, Hippocrates, and Edouard Vuillard.

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