Edgar Louis Ewing was born in Hartington, Nebraska in 1913. Ewing began his career at the age of 18, as a student of painting and drawing at the Art Institute of Chicago under Boris Ansfels. Right away, Ewing had a deep personal philosophy for his art career. Ewing’s success lead him the Edward L. Ryerson Fellowship for Foreign Travel and Study upon graduation in 1935.
After his studies in Europe, Ewing returned to Chicago to become a member of the faculty of the Art Institute of Chicago and later educator of the Arts at the University of Southern California. The University of Chicago was one of his first teaching stints, though interims were spent at Oregon as well as Michigan Universities. Years later Ewing went on to teach at the University of Southern California, where he remained for numerous years. Throughout his entire career as an educator, he remained a highly productive artist. Ewing became the recipient of a myriad of awards and recognitions for his solo as well as group exhibitions.
Ewing embraced his double career of artist and educator and was equally devoted to each passion.
At the age of 30, WWII erupted and Ewing offered himself as a member of the Corps of Engineers attached to CPIC-RAF. Specifically, he served for the Southeast Asia command in China, Burma, India Theatre, in the Philippines and Japan. While away, Ewing’s work was featured in Group exhibitions affiliated with The Art Institute of Chicago. He returned to the United States after three years and resumed his careers as artist and educator. With 11 years at the University of Southern California, Ewing went on sabbatical to journey throughout Europe. Specifically, England, France, Italy, Switzerland and Greece. Ewing developed a particular affinity for Greece and spent lengthy intervals in the country.
In 1964, Ewing went on leave again from University of Southern California and became an artist in residence at the American Academy in Rome. In this time he allowed for inspiration from travels across Europe as well as Asia; in Portugal, Spain, England, Holland, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, India, Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan. In 1967 he receiveed the Jose Drudis Foundation Grant which allowed for his work in Greece. At the same time his work was shown at the prestigious Esther Bear Gallery in Santa Barbara, California. From 1968 through 1969 Ewing was awarded The Andrew Mellon Chair at the Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1972 he continued work as Professor at University of Southern and as well as spending summers in his Athens studio. His strong impact in the Los Angeles Art community lead him to win the Los Angeles Library Association Eighth Annual. His continuous travels to Greece allowed for series of work based on his travels (i.e. Greek Wedding Series 1973, which is featured at the prestigious National Gallery in Athens as well as the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery the year later).
5:23 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for EDGAR EWING: The Later Works, 2009
3:46 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for L.A. in S.B. II, 2018
2:15 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for L.A. in S.B., 2017
3:33 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF ART, 2014
4:02 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for L.A.'s RISEN, 2011
ANALYSIS OF THE ARTIST'S WORK
Irving Stone, a close friend recalls how Ewing’s’ work has gone through a gradual transformation and maturity through each passing year. Ewing notes What is painted today is conditioned by experience today but tomorrow is another story. From an early age Edgar Ewing had wanted to be a painter, nothing more. To that account, he only views the world through his painter’s eyes. Ewing’s prolific career has been on the basis of three ideals: 1. Paint what you see, 2. Paint what you know about what you think you have seen; and 3. Paint a metaphor of what you think you know about what you have seen. He believes that these three ideas convey with nature and the reality of the experience as well as his experience with canvas and paint. When a piece is completed by Ewing, he admits the piece needs no further explanation from the painter instead the piece can go on to live its’ own life over a period of time. Frederick W. Sleight, executive Director at the Palm Springs Desert Museum in 1976 recalls how Ewing had an intensive look into the reality of things and deep reflection on the essence of his subjects. Edgar Ewing is noted for his more than 30 series of paintings on subjects such as Bryce Canyon, Las Vegas and, most extensively, Greece. Much like the shards of ancient pottery that show only pieces of the mythological story, in the Greek series of paintings Ewing pieced together fragments of color and shapes to create his own story of Greece. He used a highly classical subject matter to create distinctly modern compositions, fusing past and present. Ewing admitted to being influenced by the style and color of modern French painting and yet applied his unique vision to every canvas and sculpture.
There is no direct classification of Ewing’s work, though most subsequently it is identified with post cubist tendencies. Ewing admits, No one has taught us more about the subject of structure, while keeping intact the unity of content, than the Cubists.
AWARDS & AFFILIATIONS
1967 Jose Drudis Foundation Grant-$1500
1964 First Award for Sculpture, Laguna Beach Museum, CA
1962 Ahmanson Purchase Award, City of Los Angeles Exhibition-$1500
1957 Samuel Goldwyn Award, Los Angeles Artists and Vicinity, LACMA, CA
1957 First Purchase Prize for Oil, Sierra Madre Art Association-$400
1957 Second Prize for Oil, San Jose Centennial Exhibition
1956 First Purchase Award for Oil Painting, the California State Fair, Sacramento, CA-$600
1955 Calif. Artists Purchase Prize, Long Beach Museum, 35th National Exhibition the Calif. Watercolor Society
1953 Second Prize for Oil Painting, National Orange Show
1953 First Purchase Prize, Eighth Annual Newport Harbor Exhibition
1952 First Purchase Prize, Los Angeles Artists and Vicinity, LACMA, CA-$1000
1952 Ada Kilpatrick Purchase Prize, California Watercolor Society, De Young Museum, San Francisco-$150
1951 First Award for Oil Painting, Chaffey Community Art Association-$250
1950 First Prize for Oil Painting, 25th Arizona State Fair Exhibition, Phoenix, AZ-$350
1949 Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant-$1,000
1948 Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant, New York City, for oil painting-$1000
1948 Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant, New York, NY-$1,000
1947 Pepsi Cola Regional Award, New York, NY
1943 Berthe Aberle Floresheim Memorial Prize
1935 Edward L. Ryerson Fellowship for Foreign Travel-$2,500
Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH
Los Angels County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Santa Barbara, Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
Sheldon Memorial Art Library, Lincoln, NE
University of Southern California, Fisher Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
University of Syracuse, Syracuse, NY
1. Bear, Esther. Edgar Ewing Catalog. Esther Bear Gallery. Santa Barbara, California.
2. Ewing, Edgar. The Roman Series. Dalzell Hatfield Galleries, Ambassador Hotel. Los Angeles, California. March 20 – April 17, 1964.
3. Gilmore, Jack G. Ewing Catalog. Ruthermore Galleries. San Francisco, California. October 1 – 31.
4. Karlstrom, Paul J. Archives of American Art Journal, 1997 (Volume 37 Numbers 3 and 4) P. 48. Smithsonian Institution,Washington, DC.
5. Langs, Jules. Ewing and Johnston. Art News. February 1952.
6. Ross, Kenneth & Ewing, Edgar. Wedding Series: Edgar Ewing. Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Park Catalog. January 30 - March 3 1974.
7. Stone, Irving & Ewing, Edgar. Wedding Series: Edgar Ewing. National Gallery, Athens, Greece. January 1973.
8. Topping, Norman. Sixth Annual Academic Honors Convocation catalog. University of Southern California. Los Angeles, California. March 10, 1987.
2006 Sullivan Goss-An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1993 Fisher Gallery University of Southern Calif.
1978 University Gallery, Univ. of Southern California
1976 Palm Springs Desert Museum, Palm Springs, CA
1974 Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1973 National Gallery, Athens, Greece
1971 Esther Bear Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1969 Hewlett Gallery, Carnegie-Mellon, Pittsburg, PA
1967 Esther Bear Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
1965 Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1963 Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1961 Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1960 Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA
1958 Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1956 Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1956 Hewlett Gallery, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, PA
1955 Carniege Institute of Technology, Pittsburg, PA
1955 Ruthermore Galleries, San Francisco, CA
1955 M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, CA
1955 Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA
1954 Dalzell Hatfield Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1953 College of the Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA
1952 Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
1952 Pasadena Art Institute, Pasadena, CA
1950 University of Redlans, Redlands, CA
1949 College of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA
1949 Palos Verdes Gallery, Palos Verdes, CA
1948 M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco
1948 Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
1947 Pepsi Cola Galleyr, New York, NY
1946 University of Southern Calif, Los Angeles, CA
1946 Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH
1946 Syracuse University Gallery, Syracuse, NY