Born in Blacksburg, South Carolina, Eugene Thomason grew up in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina. He began drawing and painting at an early age, and despite his desire to study art in New York, his father sent him to Davidson College to study something more practical. Thomason left college after one year to join the navy, but returned to Charlotte in 1918.
In 1920, Eugene Thomason's employer was so impressed with his artwork that he became the young man's patron. Thomason began taking classes at the Art Student's League in New York and also enrolled in evening classes at the Grand Central School. Thomason studied with Wayman Adams and colorist Dimitri Romanovski, and privately with George Bellows.
After two years at the League, Eugene Thomason teamed with fellow painter George Luks to run a school for advanced students, which they administered for twelve years. Eugene was intrigued by George Luk's style, and the two frequently used each other as models.
By 1932, Eugene Thomason felt the need to develop his own artistic identity and moved back to Charlotte in 1934 to open a studio and art school of his own. Five years later, the artist married and settled in the Appalachians where he remained for the rest of his life. Using large brush strokes and intense, dissonant colors, Thomason found the local landscape and the mountain people subjects that would captivate him for the rest of his life.
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