Philip Moose (1921-2001)

Philip Moose wrote about his art that, “For many years my aim in painting has been to record in paint the many and varied aspects of nature – landscapes street scenes etc – which appealed to my senses for their picturesqueness, well balanced arrangement, line and color. To record these in clear, clean and colorful terms, suggesting details rather than painting each object microscopically, has not always been easy or successful. … To me, the mood and feeling of a place is all important, and the fleeting and subtle coloring of a country church just at moonrise [like] Bayou Church has been a mood and feeling that I’ve wanted to show.” (Undated handwritten note.)

The unassuming but quietly charming Blowing Rock resident Philip Anthony Moose once said that "I knew what I wanted to do when I was ten." And, what he wanted to do was paint. Born in Newton, N.C. as the fifth of seven children, the never-married Moose went to New York City in 1940 on a fellowship to study art at the National Academy of Design. He served in the U.S. Army in Europe between 1942 and 1945, even as he continued to paint.  He eventually became a Pulitzer Prize winner (for art, in 1948) and a prolific painter. 

On left, top to bottom: Grandfather Mountain (oil), Winter (oil) and Bayou Church (casein). All are undated.

Above: About age four, and in his first studio at 329 West E St, Newton in April 1952. The other two are undated.

Moose's love for travel, often financed by awards and grants, took him to Germany, Spain, Portugal, France and Italy before returning to North Carolina where he taught art at Davidson College and Charlotte's Queens College from 1956 to 1967. In1958 he bought property south of Blowing Rock and eventually settled in the neighborhood that would later be known as Artists Alley. He painted passionately throughout his life and wherever his travels took him. Known mainly for his realistic paintings in oil or watercolor, he did abstracts and collages as well.

Below: Peruvian peasant (1970's watercolor) and Abstract, Black (ca.1962 mixed media) "Of late I've become increasingly interested in the semi-abstract approach to painting and with a great deal of experimentation ... I hope soon to enter a new phase of work." 

Widely collected, Moose's artwork has been displayed in many museums, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC; and is part of the permanent collections of Charlotte's Mint Museum, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the High Museum in Atlanta, among others. Between February 13 and March 20, 1988, about thirty of Moose's works were exhibited at HMA. The Museum owns ten of his paintings. 

Post by Karin Borei, HMA Project Coordinator, writer and editor as needed, and HMA blogger since our blog's inception in March 2015.