The great Tom Phillips has died. (Here is a very good obituary in the Guardian.)
My blackout work is indebted to his masterpiece, A Humument.
He was extremely prolific, and I have it on good authority that he was working up until the very end on a collage. Here is one of them:
One of the great art experiences of my life was visiting Marvin and Ruth Sackner’s penthouse in Miami, Florida to see their archive, which included a ton of Humument pieces but also really rare pieces like this globe:
I never got to meet Tom, but we did exchange emails. He thanked me for “the nod of honest debt” I paid in a talk about the history of blackout poetry, and then he sent me something remarkable, a “skeleton version” of a slide lecture he used to give, called “Raphael to Eno,” tracking the lineage of his student, Brian Eno (another hero of mine), all the way back to Raphael in 20 moves.
I don’t think he’d mind if I reproduced it, so here it is:
Brian Eno to Raphael in 20 moves, in the words of Tom Phillips:
- BRIAN ENO (b. 1948) the pupil of
- TOM PHILLIPS (1937-2022) the pupil of
- FRANK AUERBACH (b. 1931) the pupil of
- DAVID BOMBERG (1890 – 1957) who studied with
- W.R. SICKERT (1860 – 1942) who studied with
- EDGAR DEGAS (1834 – 1917) who studied with
- J.A.D. INGRES (1780 – 1867) who studied with
- J.L. DAVID (1748 – 1825) who was the pupil of
- J.M. VIEN (b. Montpelier 1716 d. Paris 1809. He was head of the school at Rome and also designed masques etc. Buried in the Pantheon. Stiffish neo-classicist who studied under
- C.J. NATOISE (b. Paris 1700 d. Paris 1777) who also directed the French School at Rome. Designed tapestries and decorations and was unusual in that he provided a garden of classical sculpture for his students to draw in. He was the pupil of
- F. LE MOINE (b. Paris 1688 d. Paris 1737) who painted the Hercules Room at Versailles and was Premier Peintre du Roi. Committed suicide after a period of setbacks and emotional turbulence. He was the pupil of
- L. GALLOCHE (b. Paris 1670 d. Paris 1761) who was also a musician. Made a journey to Rome. Lodgings in Louvre. Pupil of
- LOUIS DE BOULOGNE LE JEUNE (b. Paris 1654 – d. Paris 1733) who copied Raphael Frescoes for the Gobelins Tapestry works. Also Premier Peintre du Roi. Studied under his father
- LOUIS DE BOULOGNE LE VIEUX (b. Paris 1609 d. Paris 1674) who worked at Versailles and was one of the founders of The Academy. Pupil of
- JACQUES BLANCHARD (b. Paris 1600 d. Paris 1638) who was called “The French Titian” and had been much influenced by work seen on a trip to Venice. He was the pupil of
- NICOLAS BOLLERY of whom little is known except that he died in Paris in 1630 and studied under his father
- JEROME BOLLERY who was active in Paris from 1530 onwards. He was the assistant to
- PRIMATICCIO (1504 -1570) when he worked on The Louvre. Primaticcio was the head of the School of Fontainbleu and was the assistant of
- GIULIO ROMANO (1499 – 1546) in the decoration of the Palazzo Té etc. G.R. the only non-English painter mentioned by Shakespeare. He entered at the age of 10 the studio of
- RAPHAEL (1483 – 1520) of whom little need be said by way of explanation.
Phillips claimed Eno was the only decent student he had.
“I used to teach,” he said. “Gave it up as soon as I could.”
If you consider Phillips’ work + his pupil’s, his influence on the culture is huge.
I cannot claim to be his pupil, but I studied him, and as I have written elsewhere, the thing about the masters is they can’t really refuse you as a student. They leave their lesson plans in their work.
Thank you, Tom.