HICKORY, North Carolina
In an exhibition designed to reveal the person through his work, Philip Moose’s life is highlighted in artifacts and paintings.
The exhibit, at the Hickory History Center (also known as Harper House), takes visitors on a journey through the life of the late Newton Moose-born artist, from his days in the US Army.
Moose was deployed to Bury St. Edmunds, England at the time of World War II and the green walls of the exhibit contain sketches of his surroundings while overseas from 1942 to 1945.
A colorful piece that looks like it was created in watercolor or gouache hangs in the center of his charcoal sketches. The painting is titled “Inside Hut 14” and gives visitors a glimpse of Moose’s military barracks.
Sydney Ball, an intern curator and student at the University of Kentucky, explained that Moose was an overseas radio technician for the Air Force.
Moose later taught art classes at Davidson College and later at Queens College in Charlotte. The exhibit features photos of Moose throughout his teaching experience as well as his passport to travel, which has been an important part of his life.
During his journey through higher education, Moose was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship which sent him to study in what was then West Germany for a full year. He also spent a month studying in Taiwan.
Moose’s study abroad section displays its scholarship certificates as well as artifacts including personalized Taiwanese ink stamps.
In 1967, Moose embarked on a journey that took him to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, the Balkans, Europe (including the Greek islands) , Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, India, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji and more.
In his later years, Moose returned to North Carolina. He settled in Blowing Rock, where he often painted images of mountainous landscapes.
Tucked into the right corner of the exhibit is a large painting of the Blue Ridge Mountains sitting on an easel used by Moose. The reference image he used for the piece is also shown.
Moose eventually returned to his home in Newton, where he lived until his death in 2001. Ball said the artifacts from Moose’s estate were largely donated by his close friend and neighbor Frank Sherrill.
Lilly Underwood, an intern curator and student at North Carolina State University, said the Catawba County Historical Association’s Moose exhibit is unique because it features “behind-the-scenes” sketches from her entire life.
Underwood said Moose’s work has been exhibited around the world, but as historical curators, she and Ball wanted to capture the person instead of just his art.
Moose’s works have been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, the NC Museum of Art, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.
Underwood and Ball have worked together since early June to curate the exhibit.