Edwin Evans did not consider himself an artist until he was near age 30. While he worked as a railroad telegrapher, he would fill in his quiet working moments by sketching. Alonzo E. Hyde watched him sketch and told him that he should study art. With Hyde’s support, Evans went to Salt Lake City and studied briefly.
In his later years, he became a well-respected watercolorist. He returned to Paris twice to study further. He spent his last years placing his art where he wished them to be collected. BYU owns a large amount. A few years before his death, a retrospective of his works were exhibited in Salt Lake City.
Art Missionary in Paris
In 1888, Hyde and his business partner John Beck helped Evans travel to Paris and join John Fairbanks, John Hafen, and Lorus Pratt to study art at the Academie Julian. Herman Haag joined them later. Evans later received support from the Church of Jesus Christ when he was set apart as an art missionary. The Utah artists worked hard in their demanding instruction and won several competitions. Their Paris training produced artists who gained new techniques and greater sophistication and accuracy in perspective and proportions. French Impressionism and its emphasis on landscapes and the effects of natural light influenced them and their paintings.