Edwin Evans, 1899
A native of Lehi, Utah, Evans left for France at age thirty to study art. Soon thereafter, 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, these artists painted murals in the Salt Lake City temple upon return to Utah. Evans painted this Utah scene with the same pastoral harmony many of his peers attributed to the Northeastern landscape.
Through both his paint and brush, Utah becomes part of Edenic America. But, in idealized renderings of cows and farmyards like this one, the artist omits anything not part of this ideal image. This chiefly includes rusty farm implements, dilapidated buildings, and unkempt grounds that form part of actual rural landscapes. Evans employed techniques from his studies in France to create this light-filled impressionist canvas.
What’s Going On?
The image is a farmyard scene in which the foreground contains two juvenile male figures caring for a white calf. One figure wears dark colored clothing and a brimmed hat. He squats down with a basin to feed or water the calf. The second figure wears a light-colored shirt and cap. He stands stooped over on the left side of the calf.
Behind the figures, three trees provide shade that cuts across the visual plane diagonally from the lower right corner to the left middle ground producing a dappled light effect on the figures. The right side of the canvas is in full sun and in the middle ground center there is a large haystack, to the right is a wooden structure with a straw roof and a piece of farming machinery with chickens feeding underneath.