By Armand Cabrera
Walter Hunt Everett was born on August 20 1880. He spent his childhood on a farm in Haddonfield, New Jersey. In his teens he attended The Pennsylvania School of Industrial Art. Sometime later he attended the Drexel Institute and studied under Howard Pyle.
He began getting professional work in his early twenties. Everett worked for The Saturday Evening Post, Scribner’s Monthly, Women’s Home Companion, McCall’s, Collier’s,Ladies Home Journal, and illustrated a number of books. He provided color frontispieces for the eighteen volume set of The Works of Louise Muhlbach.
Everett also taught briefly at the Spring Garden Institute and The School of Industrial Art from 1911 to 1915 but quit when he felt teaching was too confining.
Everett’s early work shows the influence of Pyle and other successful illustrators of the day like E.A. Abbey. The designs while strong are simple and the color is subdued.
As he matured his work became more personal. He developed an intricate sense of design and color and he incorporated more figures in his work. His later work becomes more focused on flat planes of painted color and even more sophisticated designs. His brushwork is bold and free but never sloppy or haphazard.
Although he was in demand as an illustrator through the 1920’s and early 1930’s, his temperamental nature and perfectionism caused him to miss deadlines. In a fit one day he burned most of his life’s work and very few originals survive. He was married briefly but his wife left him when he continually failed to pay bills and rent on time. He ended up moving in with a brother in Pennsylvania sometime in the 1930’s and spent the end of his life painting for the pure joy it gave him. Walter Hunt Everett died in 1946 at the age of 66.
Walter Everett Forgotten Master
Step by Step Graphics Volume 4 Number 1
Benjamin and Jane Sperry Eisenstat
200 Years of American Illustration
Henry C. Pitz
The Illustrator in America (3 volumes)
1900-1960, 1880-1980, 1860-2000
I want to thank Kev Ferarra for some of the Everett pictures and information in this article.
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