Artists in the Collection

Eugene Higgins

Born 1874, Kansas City, United States
Died 1958, New York, United States

Eugene Higgins, a painter and etcher, represented with sentimentality the impact of the homeless, depressed, and less fortunate people of society. His passionate sympathy for the poor led him to generalize situation and location, painting archetypal situations rather than observed ones.

Although a Social Realist in subject matter, his style was European, much influenced by Honoré Daumier, and this Old World quality made his work less popular than that of others such as Robert Henri, who had a more unique style.

Higgins was born the son of an Irish stonecutter and builder in Kansas City, Missouri, 1874. His artistic training came from Paris, France at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Academie Julian, under Jean Paul Laurens, Benjamin Constant, and Jean Leon Gerome. In 1904, the militant “Journal of Social Satire in Art”, devoted an entire issue to Higgins’ s illustration titled “Les Paurves”. He was acclaimed by the poet Edward Markham as “the one powerful painter of the tragic lacks and losses.” Higgins nineteenth-century stylistic approach, combined with subject matter that looks more European than American, has kept him from having the impact of his American contemporaries. In 1958 Eugene Higgins died in a hospital in New York after a long illness.