Biography: Gordon McCouch (1885-1962) was born in Philadelphia. He studied at the Art Students League in New York with George Bridgman, in Zurich, and with Howard Pyle in 1902 and 1903. He had learned about Pyle from his Chestnut Hill Academy drawing teacher, James E. McBurney, another Pyle student. His European travels and studies gave him an affection for Continental scenes, especially wine cellars, old byways, and romantic vignettes of daily life. His American scenes often featured modern urban skyscrapers and streets. One critic felt that McCouch’s constructed and geometric style was indebted to the Cubists, Expressionists, and Surrealists but that the influences of Monet, Cézanne, and Vlaminck were present in his lyric sensitivity and color.
Disillusioned with his oeuvre, McCouch eventually left the practice of art, noting in 1920:
My few illustrations were all done over ten years ago, and I never felt them to be of sufficient importance to warrant keeping records. As for my paintings, they are, with a few exceptions, destroyed.
During his career, McCouch traveled widely in Europe. He was one of many artists who was attracted to the Locarno region of Switzerland, where he exhibited. His work is held by the Ascona Museum of Modern Art. He died in Locarno.
A Small School of Art. Rowland Elzea and Elizabeth H. Hawkes, editors. Delaware Art Museum. 1980