Joe Eula is our Art Watch Artist for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across any discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth – watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch.
Who is Joe Eula
Born as Joseph Eula in January 1925, in Norwalk, Connecticut, this world war two veteran was to have the most unusual and illustrious career. He came from a family of four children, he lost his father at a young age and had seen the hardship and labour that his mother had been through to bring him and his siblings up. It was a politically turbulent time and as a teenager he joined the army to fight in the Italian campaign. He was awarded the Bronze Star, but his heart lay in design and art, thus after the war he joined the Art Students League of New York.
The war years and his upbringing had a unique impact on Eula. He was extremely grounded and humble, simple and yet he had a tremendous sense of style and flamboyance. He effortlessly understood people, a skill that was to stand him in excellent stead – in his line of work.
Joe’s career was not marked with ambition, because progress came very quickly to him for the amount of hard work and brains he put to all that he turned his attention to. He was a charming and magnetic and he drew people wherever he went, his talent was widely recognised and duly awarded. There was a certain quality of adaptability as he explored various areas of design through his art, never limiting only to fashion, from designing covers for Miles Davis’ album to designing the set and creating costumes for his friend Jerome Robbins show – Dances at a Gathering (1969), also for the New York ballet. Accolades were never far from Joe and in 1968, he was awarded the Tony award for his work at a Broadway production, Private Lives.
About the artist
If there was a way to describe a glamorous high fashion life – it would be Eula’s. In the words of his friend And Warhol – “He knows everybody who’s anybody. Anybody who’s somebody… all the really chic people.” He also said that Eula was ‘the most important person in New York’. This was a definitive truth for all his contemporaries. It may seem hard to imagine but his apartment in Manhattan was bright with parties and his guests included Coco Chanel, Lauren Bacall, Liza Minelli, Diana Veerland, Yves Saint Laurent – to name just a few.
It wasn’t that Eula’s personality alone worked as a lodestone for the rich, the famous and the glamorous – but he was trusted for his tastes, his aesthetics and his views. It was rare.
Eula had famously said – “If you could do it with one line, why put down fifty?” and this was the hallmark of his style, and was apparent in his sketches. The resonance of this is heard in Liza Minelli’s words about her friend – “his drawings showed you how the dress was supposed to look, the effect of the dress.” The simplicity of his visual vocabulary were refreshing to begin with and remained so.
Eula worked with all the renowned fashion labels in the 50’,60’s and going into the 70’s. Especially for his friend – Eugenia Sheppard, the most well known fashion journalist of the 50’s and 60’s.
In his career that spanned 5 decades, Eula remained with the House of Halston for the longest time, where he was creative director throughout the 70’s. Having lived a full life of having enjoyed the company of friends who cherished him, and those who were influential in various spheres, Eula died in 2004 at the age of 79, in Kingston, New York.
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