Alson Skinner Clark
25, 1876, in Chicago, Illinois
Alson S. Clark
Alson Clark enrolled in Saturday classes at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1887 at the age of eleven. He also received private tutoring from a German painter while visiting Europe with his family a few years later. After completing his public school education, he studied at the Art Institute for several months from November 1895 through March 1896. Not satisfied with the teaching methods at the institute, he left for New York where he enrolled in the newly formed school of William Merritt Chase (1849-1916).
|Late in 1898 Clark went to Paris where he enrolled in the Académie Carmen, the atelier of James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). He remained there for about six months. He traveled around France and to Holland and Belgium. He continued his studies in Paris at the Académie Delecluse and with Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939). In 1901 his painting The Violinist was accepted at the Paris Salon.|
|Clark returned to the United States and early in 1902 opened a studio in Watertown, New York. Newly married, he returned to Paris in the fall of 1902, and he and his wife thereafter divided their time between France and the United States until the outbreak of World War I. Clark exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, which held a one-man show for him in January of 1906. His works from this periodincluding figure works, especially studies of his wife Medora, as well as landscapes, city scenes, and interiorsreflect the influence of Whistler.|
On a summer trip in France in 1907, Clark began to lighten his palette to the higher key of his first teacher, Chase. The change in his style to a stronger impressionist method was reinforced during a trip to Spain in 1909 and was seen in his work thereafter. In October and November of 1910 he visited Giverny where he saw Lawton Parker, an old classmate, Frederick Frieseke, and Guy Rose.
An inveterate sojourner, Clark traveled throughout Europe and the United States. In 1913, on his way to Paris, he stopped in Panama and decided to undertake the project of recording the construction of the Panama Canal. Eighteen of those paintings were exhibited at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915.
The Clarks returned to America at the outbreak of World War I. After the United States entered the war, Clark enlisted in the Navy and was sent to France to work as an aerial photographer. Clark visited California in the winter of 1919 for reasons of health, then, in January of 1920, decided to remain, acquiring a home and studio along the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena. He renewed his acquaintance with Guy Rose, who had returned to California in 1914. In 1921, along with Rose, Clark began teaching at the Stickney Memorial School of Art. Attracted to the southwest landscape, Clark made numerous painting trips in California and in Mexico. He sent works for exhibition to New York and Chicago, was represented by Stendahl Galleries, and also received mural commissions. He died in Pasadena, on March 23, 1949, while painting in his studio.
He received numerous awards, including a Bronze Medal, St. Louis Exposition, 1904; the Martin B. Cahn Prize, Art Institute of Chicago, 1906; a Bronze Medal, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915; the Grand Prize, Southwest Museum, 1923; the Huntington Prize, California Art Club, 1924; and a First Prize, Pasadena Art Institute, 1933.
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