A contemporary of Calder, Avery, Hart Benton, Hopper and O’Keefe, Philips was not only included in group shows with these notable artists, but received four critically acclaimed New York solo shows. In one of its reviews, Art News called the young painter’s art “semi-abstract in mode but romantic, almost mystical, in feeling.” Working in rich color tones which one reviewer referred to as having “the richness and transparency of jewels,” Philips lures viewers with her refined aesthetic. But the playful Paul Klee-like joyfulness of some of her canvases belies the serious intentions of their creator whose search was often one for deeper meaning and the way of passion, love, humanity, even loneliness. The artist called her pictures “searches for the underlying realities of life...when the idea cannot be separated from the form, I am satisfied.”
Born in New York City in 1915, Philips received her B.A. in Art at Sarah Lawrence College where, from 1934 to 1939, she studied with Kurt Roesch. Philips’ life ended prematurely, after a long illness, at the age of thirty. Upon her death, Roesch wrote “we all know that the life we are allowed to live is very short: but we always forget this while we live and work...it is tragic and good for us to see how much Patricia Philips accomplished in her short life.” Today, Philips’ art can be found in the Denver Art Museum, New York Public Library, San Jose State College and many private collections.