Local artist John Englehart is deadJohn Englehart, who...


January 19, 1992

Local artist John Englehart is dead

John Englehart, who began drawing and painting at age 81 to express a lifetime of experience in mental institutions and who achieved recognition for his work two years later, died yesterday of complication from prostrate cancer at Maryland General Hospital.

He was 84.

A collection of about 70 of his drawings, including a series of self-portraits, was exhibited at the April 1990 opening of BAUhouse, an arts center at 1713 N. Charles St.

"His work has a channeling of the kind of pain that comes from having lived a long time," Baltimore artist Lyle Kissack was quoted as saying in The Evening Sun.

Mr. Englehart -- diagnosed as schizophrenic with mild retardation and aphasia -- was institutionalized at age 11 at Rosewood State Hospital in Owings Mills. He continued to live in mental hospitals until 1971, when he moved to a boarding house in West Baltimore. Three years later, he moved to the Inns of Evergreen South, a South Baltimore nursing home.

It was there in 1988 that he met Anne Watts, a Baltimore artist and musician working as a recreational aide. She said she persuaded doctors to reduce his medication and cajoled him into communicating with her.

The two became friends, and a few months later, Mr. Englehart began speaking and drawing about his life. Ms. Watts, 29, described his work as "really raw, expressionistic and abstract. It looked sort of childlike, but it was much deeper."

He worked in pastels, acrylics, tempera and charcoal. Many of his pictures depicted the work he did while living in institutions, much of it outdoors. Ms. Watts said his work resembled that of artists Paul Klee and Joseph Beuys. His pictures were "snapshot images of his past," she said.

The self-portraits displayed at BAUhouse were done after Mr. Englehart was told he had cancer, wrote Sun art critic John Dorsey in a review of the opening, and many of them dealt with images of death and resurrection. "The best test of Mr. Englehart's work is that it sticks with you," Mr. Dorsey wrote. "The images are memorable.

"The drawings and paintings here are quite childlike in their simplified images, but they wouldn't be mistaken for a child's work."

Ms. Watts said Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles had been considering making a movie based on Mr. Englehart's life.

Mr. Englehart enjoyed watching the sailboats in the Inner Harbor and liked the illustrations in the New Yorker magazine. He chewed tobacco and idolized film cowboys Tom Mix and William S. Hart.

He was born somewhere in Anne Arundel County and has no known surviving relatives, Ms. Watts said.

6* A private memorial service is planned. A Mass of Christian burial for the Rev. William A. McEvoy, retired pastor of the St. Anthony Shrine, a Roman Catholic parish in Emmitsburg, will be offered at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Church of the Annunciation, 5212 McCormick Ave., Rosedale.

Father McEvoy, 78, died Friday of cancer at Franklin Square Hospital.

After retiring in 1983 at the Emmitsburg shrine, which he first served as administrator in 1978, he assisted at various churches the Baltimore archdiocese, including the Annunciation parish, where he lived for about three years. He moved to St. John Hall, Long Crandon, a retirement home for priests in Baltimore County, about a year ago.

From the late 1960s until 1976, Father McEvoy was administrator and then pastor of St. Michael's Church in Poplar Springs. For the next two years, he was co-pastor of downtown Baltimore's St. Alphonsus Church.

His first assignment after his ordination in 1946 was at St. Jerome's Church in Baltimore. He also held various administrative positions with the archdiocese.

Born in Baltimore, he was educated at St. Martin's School. After eight years of employment unrelated to the priesthood, he resumed his religious studies at St. Charles College and St. Mary's Seminary.

Msgr. W. Francis Malooly, chancellor of the Baltimore archdiocese, described Father McEvoy as "a quiet unassuming man, given much to solitude. He was a man of prayer, a dedicated and devoted priest, who could be depended upon to carry out faithfully whatever tasks he was asked to undertake."

Father McEvoy is survived by a sister, Marie Anna Blomeier of Cockeysville, and a number of nieces and nephews. Harry L. Cummins, a retired supermarket deli manager, died Jan. 11 at his home in Zellwood, Fla., after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 79.

Born in Springfield, Mass., Mr. Cummins moved to Baltimore as a teen-ager and lived most of his life in Northwest Baltimore and Randallstown. He moved to Florida last year.

A graduate of City College, he owned a couple of small grocery stores in West Baltimore before becoming a deli manager for supermarkets in Baltimore and Northern Virginia.

After leaving the food business in the early 1970s, he went to work in inventory control for Central Building Supply in Baltimore for 14 years. He retired three years ago.

He was an avid duckpin bowler throughout his life.

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