Eugene Higgins, N.A. (Missouri, 1874-1958)

Eugene Higgins, a painter and etcher of the “Ashcan School”, represented with sentimentality the impact of the homeless, depressed, and less fortunate people of society. Although a Social Realist in subject matter, his style was European, much influenced by Honore Daumier. The Missouri-born painter and print-maker was the son of Irish immigrants, raised by his stone-cutter father in a St. Louis boarding house, after his mother died when he was only four. These childhood memories informed the subjects of his artistic imagination, which remained unchanged, even after Higgins gained critical recognition and commercial success in the last twenty years of his life. Higgins is said to have painted his first picture at the age of 12, inspired by a magazine illustration of a work by 19th century French Artist Jean-Francois Millet, who was noted for his realistic studies of the rural poor. Higgins left for the homeland of his artistic idol in 1897 and studied for seven years at the famed Academie Julian and Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1904, the militant "Journal of Social Satire in Art", devoted an entire issue to Higgins' illustration titled "Les Paurves". In 1921 Higgins was elected an associate of the National Academy of Design and thereafter his paintings were honored regularly at the Academy and elsewhere. He frequently exhibited at such institutions as the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Corcoran Gallery. His numerous memberships included the National Arts Club, the Society of American Etchers and the Salmagundi Club. Higgins was acclaimed by the poet Edward Markham as "the one powerful painter of the tragic lacks and losses."

Studied 
Academie Julian, Paris 1897-98
Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris 

Member
National Academy, 1928
New York Watercolor Club
Society of American Etchers
Society of American Artists
Brooklyn Society of Etchers
National Arts Club
American Watercolor Society
Salmagundi Club
American Federation of Artists
National Institute of Arts and Letters
Lyme Society of Artists

Work 
Library of Congress 
Milwaukee Art Institute 
Los Angeles County Museum of Art 
William and Mary College 
Whitney Museum of American Art 
The Phillips Collection 
Smithsonian American Art Museum
National Museum Of American History
High Museum of Art 
Georgia Museum of Art 
Addison Gallery of American Art 
Boca Raton Museum of Art 
Delaware Art Museum 
(And many more important art institutions) 

References
Falk (ed.), Who Was Who in American Art, 1564-1975
Kornhauser, American Paintings Before 1945
Shipp, American Art Colonies 1850-1930
High Museum of Art, American Paintings at The High
Adams, American Drawings and Watercolors from the Kansas City Region
Falk (ed.), The Annual Exhibition Record of the Art Institute of Chicago
Lang, Etched in Memory
Falk (ed.), Annual Exhibition Record,
National Academy of Design
Kopitske, American Reflections: Paintings 1830-1940
Sheehan, American Masterworks on Paper
Huneker, Americans in the Arts
Brown, The Story of the Armory Show
Brown, The Story of the Armory Show
Hall, Eyes on America
Craven, A Treasury of American Prints
Louisiana Purchase Expo, Official Catalogue of Exhibitors
(and numerous other important references)

Exhibited 
Armory Show, 1913 
Society of Independent Artists, 1917 
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, 1917, 1920-45, 1952 
Corcoran Gallery 1923-45 (11 times) 
Art Institute of Chicago, 1929 
Grand Central Gallery, 1930 (prize) 
National Academy of Design, 1931 (prize, 1937 (prize) 
National Arts Club, 1933 
National Arts Club, 1933 
Salmagundi Club, 1932 (prize) 
New York Watercolor Club 1937 (prize) 
American Watercolor Society, 1937 
Whitney Museum of American Art 
Carnegie International
(and many more historic exhibitions)