(American, 1847 - 1898)
Tromp L’oeil: Hanging Pears
Oil on canvas, 12 1/8 x 10 1/8 inches
Signed at lower left: “S.S. David”
De Scott Evans was a painter primarily known during his lifetime for depictions of women in interiors. He is best known now for his trompe l’oeil still lifes of fruit or nuts on meticulously detailed wood-grain backdrops, often with humorous notes suggesting the viewer take a sample of the food presented. He also designed at least one cube out of stretchers and canvas painted to depict a cat in a wooden crate.
Interestingly, it appears that he did not take his still-life work seriously as few of the pieces have a formal signature nor a date, and many have pseudonyms such as Scott David, Stanley S. David and simply David on his pictures.
After studying in Paris, Evans settled down in Cleveland, where he established the first art club, and taught at the Cleveland Academy of Fine Arts, where he later became co-director, holding that position from 1883 until he moved to New York.
Evans life ended particularly tragically. A patron from Cleveland had commissioned Evans to decorate his music room in Paris, and Evans and his family were drowned in 1898 in the Atlantic Ocean when his ship, the S.S. Burgoyne, sank after a collision with another ship.
De Scott Evans’ work is in the collections of the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh; the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.
About the Artist
(American, 1847 - 1898)
David Scott Evans was born in Boston, Indiana to David S. and Nancy A. (Davenport) Evans. His father was a physician. He attended Miami University's preparatory school in the 1860s, studying with professor Adrian Beaugureau at Miami and later in Cincinnati. In 1873, he became head of the art department at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, teaching there until 1875. Evans studied with Adolphe William Bouguereau in Paris from 1877 to 1878, returned to Ohio and taught at the Cleveland Academy of Art from 1882 to 1887, and moved to New York City in 1887.
Evans and his three daughters died in July 1898, when the Paris-bound steamer La Bourgogne was rammed by another vessel. His wife was not with them and later remarried.
Known primarily for genre subjects, years after his death a number of trompe l'oeil still lifes were attributed to him which bear the names "David Scott," "S. S. David," and "Stanley S. David." While there is still some question regarding the attributions--they are based upon the strong similarity of two paintings--there has yet to be found an artist named "David" active at the right time and place and Evans is known to have signed his work as "D. Scott Evans" and later "De Scott Evans."