The Joy of Vision!, my forthcoming new book, is the biography of William Henry Clapp (1879-1954) and an historical and curatorial presentation of his art. Clapp was a notable American Impressionist Painter with significant Canadian roots. I like to call him the Urbane Impressionist. Clapp is considered both a Canadian and American artist. Although he studied and exhibited art in Montreal and Paris, he was the fearless head of the Oakland Art Gallery (Museum) for more than three decades and a guiding member of East Bay's illustrious Society of Six.
I began collecting information and writing the story of Clapp more than 30 years ago, but for reasons I won't go into here, I suspended my writing effort, although I never suspended my work to bring to William Clapp the recognition he deserves.
Without reservation I made the typed draft of my in-progress biography, William Henry Clapp, the Gentle Impressionist, available to museum curators in Canada and New York who were working on exhibitions of Canadian Impressionism and to other writers and curators. In my own eyes these early drafts were inadequate, leaving too many questions unresolved. Expanding from those first drafts of nearly 20,000 words I am now nearing completion of The Joy of Vision!, a work of more than twice that length and a better understanding of the artist's work.
In The Joy of Vision! I am endeavoring to place Clapp in an historical context, which gives texture and understanding to his career and his art. I write about his times and about the artists and social swirls which were the context in which he painted his own brand of Impressionism and made herculean efforts to support other artists and art viewpoints which were not his own.
Art books and exhibit catalogs without lots of color illustrations are a sad abandonment of the glories of current print technology and echo back to the sorry state of art publications in Clapp's own time. Consequently I will embed within the text of The Joy of Vision! a good many illustrations. Some of these, such as photographs of people, will be in black and white. But most will be color depictions of Clapp's paintings.
But that is only the illustrative start. I intend to place within the pages "Portfolios" (printers call them signatures) of eight or sixteen pages each of illustrations of Clapp's paintings. The Joy of Vision! will not constitute a catalogue raisonné, but it will provide the kernel for some future scholar who might want to undertake that daunting task. I hope that some of my "Portfolios" will comprise Clapp paintings in public collections in the United States and Canada.
My purpose in compiling this "Preview Presentation" is to introduce The Joy of Vision!, give a brief resume of Clapp's distinguished career; depict 27 of his many California landscapes (20 of them 15 x 18" format, his preferred size, three much larger works, and four smaller ones) which will appear in the book; reproduce in color the covers of a group of art texts which have made editorial recognition of the artist; list his group and one-man exhibition history, as nearly as we have been able to constitute them; and make a bibliography, again as nearly complete as possible, but obviously incomplete. Additionally, I will include a Glossary I am preparing for the book listing and identifying all the artists, dealers, and others whom I am citing in the book, along with some personal anecdotes, which may help readers who are not conversant in all aspects of art history.
The Joy of Vision! will be comprehensive in its scope. But everything can't be there, and the emphasis will be on his landscapes. After it is published I intend to produce Book Two, which will depict a greater selection of his figure paintings, smaller landscapes, monotypes, and drawings. Book Two will be comparatively sparse in text.
Note: The volume will contain many portfolios of illustrated works as well as textual illustrations.
William Henry Clapp (1879-1954) was an American/Canadian Impressionist painter of beguiling beauty and skill. One of the country's best-known art collectors, who lives in western Pennsylvania, described his Clapps to Les Laky of Carmel as the gems hanging on his walls, in splendid company with his Monets and Renoirs. Because Clapp spent nearly all his professional life in Canada, France, Cuba, and California, he was not part of the Eastern art establishment, and his work was largely overlooked by the New York art press.
Clapp was both a follower and a pioneer. He was taken by the Impressionism and Post-Impressionism he found in France, 1904-08. Most of the original artists were alive and active, and the next generation was coming on the scene. He was particularly influenced by the work of Seurat and Signac. In this he was a follower. But when he returned to Canada, and to a slightly lesser extent California (because he got there later) his painting was so far in advance of what was being done that he became a radical pioneer, introducing audiences and artists on both sides of the continent to new visions.
In another sense, Clapp was a horticulturalist, a measured scientist who took what Impressionism and Post-Impressionism said to him and then crossbred and pollinated to create a flowering of his own sort, a response to the air and light and culture he found at home. He shared his new seeds, widening his influence in Canada and California.
William Henry Clapp was born of American parents in Montreal, where his father worked for Andrew Carnegie. He went to school in Oakland but returned to study art in Montreal, where eventually he won the Dow Prize and membership in the Royal Canadian Academy. Shortly after the turn of the century he moved to Paris for four years to study, paint, and exhibit in the major salons. He made painting forays into the French countryside which later become a World War I battleground, Belgium, and Spain.
He returned to Montreal, where he exhibited at the Royal Canadian Academy of Fine Arts, winning the Jessie Dow Prize for Spanish Garden as the best Canadian picture of the year. He moved to New York City long enough to exhibit at the National Academy of Design. Returning to Montreal, he mounted several important one man and group shows at the Montreal Art Association, the Arts Club, Johnson's Art Galleries (100 paintings), and the Royal Canadian Academy, which made him as associate member in 1913.
He added to his American credits by showing in the 16th Exhibition of the Carnegie Institute and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
The freshness of his pallette and the joyful interpretation of the Spanish countryside was a great spur to many of the painters in Montreal: he appeared as 'a new voice' for Canadian painting, invigorating and inspiring younger painters.
His membership in the Royal Canadian Academy was proof that his fellow painters accepted him. The backward public found him harder to take. Only one critic, Laberge, appreciated him:
Clapp paints what he thinks he sees, and is not obsessed by what others see or think they see. He is concerned with light and color transfiguring form, to which light and color are subsidiary. He has a love for mist and mystical in which a dimly lighted, warm nude figure, exquisitely modeled, sometimes suggests a classical story ... He can assemble reds and yellows and blues on a canvas in a way that would make a Monticelli ashamed.
Commenting on the Dow-prize picture by a "youth of 30", the critic said:
... the warmth and glow and heat that were reflected in that canvas may be found in a more or less degree in all his work today. Mr. Clapp bids fair to make a notable contribution to Canadian Art.
But Laberge's perception was unique among critics. Other Canadian artists who had studied in France were treated with equal ill will. A. Y. Jackson, who studied under Clapp, wrote in 1912 about the public rejection of Clapp's works, saying he supposed Montreal "still laughs at Clapp, the loud empty laugh which speaks the vacant mind, but they will learn when all are dead."
Abandoning Canada in 1915, Clapp sailed for Cuba, where his father managed a plantation on the Isle of Pines. For two yeas he painted swampy waterways overhung with palms and hot country roads, sometimes in soft diffused mists, sometimes with sharp, short, piercing glazes that turned paintings into vibrating jewels.
Leaving Cuba, he did not return to Canada but settled permanently in Oakland, where he had gone to high school and was destined to make an enduring mark.
The San Francisco Bay Area had already tried a generous taste of contemporary European and American art during the grandiose 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Many of the artists represented had used the 1913 New York Armory Show to set the Eastern establishment teeth on edge.
When Clapp landed in Oakland in 1917 he carried good credentials. He had already digested and adapted Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, which he probably understood better than anyone else on the West Coast. Oakland was not a bad place for him to light. The community was alive to new things, and while it may not have been any more advanced in its art taste than San Francisco, which had not shaken off American Tonalism, it did not have the same overburden of established positions as its bigger neighbor: there was a smaller steamroller to step in front of.
Clapp soon found employment as an instructor of life drawing at the California School of Arts and Crafts. By November, 1917 he had a major exhibition in Oakland and extensive and favorable press coverage in the Oakland Tribune.
The next year he was invited to contribute to an exhibition in the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and shortly afterwards asked to fill in as the curator of the newly founded Oakland Art Gallery [later the Oakland Museum].
Clapp's success in what was supposed to be a temporary calling was best summed up by the art critic for the Sunday Tribune:
For six months William H. Clapp has been director of the Oakland Art Gallery. He came to us quite as a stranger from up Canada way, after a stay of some profitable years in Europe, bringing with him some Neo-Impressionistic things that revealed him a practitioner of art to be reckoned with. And he was invited to give an exhibition. Then we grew to know the modest fellow for what he was--an artist of uncompromising idealism and an indomitable will for work ... he has done for Oakland the impossible--given to it a fresh show every two weeks, and a show in which verve and spontaneity illuminated the gray walls in a way that those-who-care should hold in memory .. .It is no small service to the younger artist--and indeed to the older 'arrived' painters as well--that Mr. Clapp has rendered during his stewardship in providing so many of them an audience. And ... in providing them with buyers for real money.
Clapp's status as director became permanent when the Porter Collection was given to the museum.
Despite his untiring work for the gallery he never ceased painting. An Oakland critic cited Clapp's A Sunlit Road, which was part of a group show:
... stands out distinctly from the more gaudy brilliant pictures about it. The observer immediately feels that here is optimism, happiness, love of nature, and the joy of living clearly expressed. The color combinations of blue, yellow, and red are especially effective. Clapp'S work is decidedly individual. His productions are easily picked out from the others. There is a dainty airiness expressive of all the beauties of nature in all his work which is unmistakable.
In 1919 two of Clapp's works were included in a group of 42 California paintings exhibited by the Seattle Fine Arts Society, and both were singled out by The Sunday Times critic:
"Vibration" as a mode of art, finds a considerable measure of justification in "The New Church," one of two works from the brush of William H. Clapp. Viewed from the opposite end of the gallery the multitudinous array of irregular short dashes of greens, blues, reds, and yellows by which it suggests rather than depicts its subject, invite the eye with an effect not unlike the shimmer of sunlight when heat rays create definite impressions on the eyes. It is one of the four or five paintings attracting the most attention.
About this time (1919) a dynamic 20-year-old Oakland beauty, Mrs. Florence Wieben Lehre, joined the gallery staff, and for a dozen years until her untimely death her energy, perception, and hard work helped Clapp build the program and reputation of the museum and enabled Clapp to work as an artist as well as an administrator. During his entire 34-year stewardship, however, he remained very self-effacing so that no one could accuse him of capitalizing on his position to take unfair advantage over other artists.
In the spring of 1917, just after Clapp arrived from Cuba, 30 painters, sculptors, and art students formalized an artists' club of the East Bay. Clapp and Selden Gile were among them, but they soon gathered four other painters and constituted "The Society of Six," to whom Clapp brought the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist visions that he had learned in France, the only one of the group who had actually been there.
The Gallery's first monumental coup was the Blue Four exhibit of 1926, which was brought about by the collaboration of Clapp and Frau Galka Scheyer, a painter who had lived in the same house with Kandinsky and Klee in Switzerland before the import of their work finally struck her. In 1924 she organized THE BLUE FOUR Exhibition of Kandinsky, Klee, Jawlensky, and Feininger and brought it to America with high hopes. She succeeded in getting only a small show in a commercial gallery in New York.
She moved to California, where Clapp appointed her the Gallery's European representative, and in 1926 he gave the Blue Four their first American museum exhibition. Under the museum aegis the show, with Scheyer as traveling lecturer, circulated to museums and galleries throughout the West. In 1931 a second collection was shown which traveled as far Eastward as Chicago--and finally reached avant-garde New York City in 1944!
Clapp said "The Blue Four Exhibition is one of the most significant collections of abstract art ever put before the American public."
He gave Jawlensky his first one-man show in America in 1928; Kandinsky got one in 1929, the same year Feininger had a show of block prints; and Klee's one-man came in 1935.
Clapp viewed his position as head of the museum as a public trust. In a tax-supported institution, he felt, all artistic expressions have the right to be heard. A look at the names of artists who got their first American museum recognition in Oakland attests to his taste and determination to make the museum a showplace for the newest and best. To the Blue Four add the names of Kirchner, Nolde, Hofer, Heckel, Rotluff, Pechstein, Kokoschka, Archipengo, Raoul Dufy, Rockwell Kent, Arthur Davies, Hartley, Signac, Tamayo, Vlaminck, MacDonald-Wright, Gauguin, and Picasso to those he showed in the first 12 to 14 years of his stewardship.
For the annual Oakland Museum Art Exhibitions he invented a three-tier system of juries--conservative, modern, and radical--so that artists of any of these tendencies had a fair opportunity of being selected for exhibition. When club women protested the inclusion of two nudes selected by the radical jury in the FIFTH ANNUAL EXHIBITION in 1927, Clapp, who painted many beautiful figure pieces during his career, led a spirited defense of artistic freedom. Among his comments: "This episode is a manifestation of the almost universal desire to suppress that which we do not understand ... Apart from their merit as works of art these pictures merely say that ugly women should not remove their clothing."
This skirmish was a standoff compared to the Oakland Art War of 1928, triggered by several nudes in a grandiose circulating exhibition, THIRTY EUROPEAN MODERNISTS, which included Feininger, Gauguin, Kirchner, Kandinsky, Picasso, and Nolde: an avant-garde show of major proportions. The club women were again outraged and this time better organized. They succeeded in closing the show, which was moved promptly to the gallery of Mills College. The Oakland Tribune came out foursquare for Clapp, and when he threatened to resign, the Library Board, which governed the Gallery, gave in.
Clapp invented an electrical voting system so that gallery visitors could indicate their favorite paintings--and could vote whether the nudes should stay in or be put out.
In separate and combined ways The Six struggled towards an ideal that Clapp saw as an enormously high and craggy mountain whose summit is veiled in perpetual mists. Many paths lead up the sides, but no man has succeeded in following one of them to the top where lies a treasure, precious beyond the power of man to imagine ...
But as the Depression scattered The Six and art currents swirled off in different directions, Clapp would write:
Waste has entered the practice of art just as it has entered all the phases of modern life.
We discover, we try until the effort bores us and then we discard in favor of something newer. If all of us were masters we might perhaps snatch greatness during our flitting from late to latest. Unfortunately most of what we know and are is the result of continuation of the effort of those who have gone before. One generation builds the foundation, the next adds a story and so on until a tower is built. But art has become too impatient to bother with foundations and we seek to soar on inspirational strokes of fortune. And so--impressionism was wasted. It added another story to the edifice of art, but the workmen have abandoned their jobs and instead of completing the building upon which they worked for a time, they have elected to start anew 'from the ground up.' Only here and there throughout the world a workman impressionist sticks to his job and tries to add a stone or two to the tower that started upward so hopefully.
Obviously Clapp believed strongly that artists were far from exhausting the potential of Impressionism, and though some observers fault him for not chucking it and moving on to something new and radical, he felt no dishonor in his lifelong exploration; indeed, the dishonor would have been an abandonment simply for the sake of change. He could continue to mine Impressionism because he did not paint himself into a box with a narrow definition. Frequently he employed the small, numerous touches associated with Monet or Signac, but at times he could paint his landscapes with broad strokes and forms that were compatible with the works of his Six friends Gile and Gay. When it came to figure pieces, he was far better than the others of the Six, and better most of the time than anyone else in California.
Clapp's group and one-man shows were far less frequent than he deserved. Adding to what my research produced and which she used, Nancy Boaz's listing of them in The Society of Six: California Colorists is the most complete.
In recent years his works have been featured in one-man shows in Denmark and Maryland, a major six-museum exhibition of IMPRESSIONISM IN CANADA, and in SOCIETY OF SIX exhibits, as well as in a show of A CENTURY OF CALIFORNIA ART at the National Collection of American Art, Smithsonian. The most recent major manifestation of Clapp's standing was the inclusion of four of his oil paintings borrowed from Canadian museums in VISIONS OF LIGHT AND AIR, CANADIAN IMPRESSIONISM, 1885-1920, a collection assembled by Carol Lowry for the Americas Society Art Gallery in New York City and circulated to four other American and Canadian museums, 1995-96.
Clapp's double identity as a Canadian Impressionist and an American Impressionist is demonstrated by the glorious 1988 publication of California Impressionism by William H. Gerdts and Will South, which includes appropriate references and illustrations to the long-term head of the Oakland Museum. The text also explains how Clapp's work also bridged the continuum of outright Impressionism and Modernism:
Still, the painting of the Society of Six did incorporate Impressionist methods, underscoring the idea that the terms Impressionism and Modernism are conditional and should not be understood as mutually exclusive ... The Society of Six, whether defined as California Impressionists or not, shared with those painters a preference for working out of doors, for high-key color, and for finding subjects in their immediate surroundings. But their willingness to depart from nature and experiment with abstract design also allied them with the Post-Impressionists, especially the Fauves. All the Society's members worked diligently and creatively at outdoor painting, contributing to the history of California Impressionism at the same time that their work pointed toward and prepared the way for other forms of modernist painting in the state.
Ms. Lowry wanted a fifth Clapp belonging to the National Gallery of Canada included in the traveling VISIONS OF LIGHT AND AIR collection, but she could not get it. It was hanging in the Prime Minister's office, and he didn't want it out of his sight.
Part One: Illustrations of several books where Clapp references are found.
Part Two: A comprehensive bibliography. We are indebted to the research of Nancy Boas for The Society of Six for many of the early references. Even so, the bibliography is necessarily incomplete, as additional references come to light.
(with a few personal notes here and there to add some spice to the listings)
Académie Colarossi. Like the Julian, a private art school in Paris. Established by the Italian Sculptor Filippo Colarossi, the school catered to sculpture students, but painters were welcome. Clapp studied here.
Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris. (Academy of the Large Thatched Cottage). Art school founded by the Swiss Martha Stettler in 1902. Providing only a model and "warmth in winter," it was cheaper than the Julian. Clapp studied here.
Académie des Beaux-Arts. Paris. This is NOT an art school but a learned society, one of five constituting the Institut de France, and was created in 1795. Membership severely limited.
Académie Julian. A private art school in Paris established in 1868. Unlike the government's Ecole National des Beaux-Arts, it admitted female students, who, like the men, worked from live nude models. Established by painter Rodolphe Julian, for a century it drew art students from all over the world, including many from America and Canada. Fees had to be paid in advance. Clapp and Gagnon were among its students.
Aligny, Claude (1798-1871). French painter of landscapes & historical figures, winner of many prizes. Knew Corot in Italy.
Archipenko, Alexander (1887-1964).Ukrainian avantgarde artist and sculptor. Moved to Paris by 1909 and resided in the artists' Colony La Ruche.
Armory Show, the popular name of the International Exhibition of Modern Art held in the vast New York City 69th Regiment National Guard Armory in 1913. This watershed exposition introduced New Yorkers to European and American avant-guard art 1,250 paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts by 300 artists—and changed the course of American art and art collecting.
Arp, Hans (1887-1966). Alsatian artist who French law decreed, after Alsace was recovered, should be named Jean; went to Switzerland in 1915, where he could remain Hans. Founding member of Dada movement, 1916. Was an early Surrealist.
Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. In 1914 the family of Canadian painter William Blair Bruce, including his wife, Sculptor Carolyn Benedict Bruce, bequeathed 29 of his paintings to the city, establishing the nexus for the museum.
Ashcan School. A realistic American art movement that became prominent in the early 20th Century, usually depicting daily life in poorer neighborhoods. See The Eight.
Bailly, Alice (1872-1938). Radical Swiss painter known for her interpretation of Cubism. Friend of Juan Gris, Francis Picabia, Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Fernand Léger, and Marie Laurençin.
Bannerman, Frances Jones (1855-1944). Canadian. Described as a poet, she was one of first Canadian Impressionists. After marriage settled in England.
Beatty, J. W. (1869-1941). Canadian painter. Forerunner to the Group of Seven. Studied at the Julian, Paris. Returning home he began painting landscapes in Algonquin Park, worked with the war artists of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1917.
Benedicts, Carolyn (?). Canadian sculptor, wife of artist William Blair Bruce. After his untimely death in 1906 she and his family bequeathed 29 of his paintings (1914) to the city of Hamilton and the Art Gallery of Hamilton, which, much like Clapp's Oakland Art Gallery, operated on the second floor of the public library for nearly 40 years.
Berlin Secession. An association founded by artists in Berlin in 1898 after the rejection of landscape artist Walter Leistsikow by the official jury of the Berlin Salon. Some of the Secession members were Max Beckmann, Lovis Corinth, Lyonel Feininger, and Kathe Kollwitz.
Blakelock, Ralph Albert (1847-1919). American. Largely self-taught. Traveled widely in Indian lands, father of nine. Fine artist but poor businessman. Work began to be recognized after he was committed to a psychiatric hospital.
Bonnard, Pierre (1867-1947). French artist, friend of Toulouse-Lautrec. With Edouard Vuillard founded Les Nabis, known for intense use of color.
Boudin, Eugene (1824-1965). French. One of first painters to paint out of doors. Worked in small art shop where Monet displayed his early work. Often painted near the English Channel; his maritime pictures are famous.
Bouguereau, William-Adolphe (1825-1905). French academic painter of genre and mythology, with heavy emphasis on the female body. Became very famous and wealthy but lost his standing and market with the flowering of the Impressionists. Enjoying a revival.
Boyd, Edward (1878-1964). Canadian painter from Montreal. Was a Clapp roommate in Paris.
Boynton, Raymond Sceptre (1883-1951). American. Born in Iowa, went to Chicago at 20 to study art the Academy of Fine Arts, began exhibiting a year later. After moving to California, where he found inspiration in depicting the Mother Lode country on canvases and murals. He painted historical landmarks as well as mining.
Braque, Georges (1882-1963). French. Major 20th Century painter and sculptor. Co-creator with Pablo Picasso of Cubism. An early Fauvist, the wild beasts known for their rampant color.
Brissey, Forrest. (?) At the Fifth Annual Exhibition of the Oakland Art Gallery, 1927, the radical jury selected two nude paintings, one, Brissey's Woman, which elicited a vociferous public protest from some local women and a public vote from museum attendees as to whether the paintings should be removed or allowed to stay. The paintings won overwhelming approval 79%. Brissey insisted his painting be removed because, he said, the attention generated by the women's clubs had made the picture extremely immoral because people would come to see it who were not interested in art. This led to the Great Oakland Art War the next year.
Bruce, William Blair (1859-1906). Canadian painter. Bequest from his wife (see Caroline Benedicts, above) and family members of 29 of his paintings led to the establishment of the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
Brymner, William (1855-1925). Canadian. Impressionist painter towards the end of a career that was much closer to the Barbizon manner. Best known for a long career as one of the most influential art teachers in Canada.
Caffin, Charles Henry (1854-1918). British-American writer and art critic. Born in England, graduated from Oxford, moved to the U.S. in 1892, wrote popular criticism for Harper's Weekly, New York Evening Post, New York Sun, New York American, and International Studio.
Caillebotte, Gustave (1848-1894). French Impressionist whose work was more realistic than the others. Relatively well-do-do, he collected the work of his fellow Impressionists and gave an important group of them to the French State. Died young. His greatest painting is in the Chicago Art Institute.
Carmichael, Frank (1890-1945). Canadian. Founding member of the Group of Seven.
Cassatt, Mary (1844-1926). American painter and printmaker, from a prosperous Pennsylvania family. The lone American among the original group of French Impressionists. Very close friend of Edgar Degas.
Casson, A. J. (1898-1992). Canadian painter. Member of Group of Seven, prot g of Franklin Carmichael. Known for depictions of forests and farms in southern Ontario. Co-founder of Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour.
Cézanne, Paul (1839-1906). French Post-Impressionist whose work laid the foundation for a new and radically different world of 20th century art, with a mastery of design, draftsmanship, color, and composition using planes of color and small brushstrokes.
Chase, William Merritt (1849-1916). American exponent of Impressionism. Teacher in the Chase School, which would become Parsons, The New School of Design. Flamboyant in dress and manner, he wielded great influence along with his talent.
Clapp, William Henry (1879-1954). American. Born in Montreal of American parents. Grew up in Oakland, CA, studied art in Montreal Art Association School under William Brymner. Studied in Paris at the Julian and the Colarossi, exhibited in the fourth Salon d'Automne, 1904. Painted in Spain and Belgium. Returned to Montreal, won the Dow Prize. Spent two years in Cuba before moving to Oakland, where he painted and became Director of the Oakland Art Gallery (museum) for more than three decades. Member of the Society Six. Gave the Blue Four their first American museum exposures.
Clivette, Merton. (By extrapolation, born in 1847.) Made his art debut at age 79 but was not "suddenly made famous" until he was 82. The modernist jury of the 1929 annual Oakland Art Gallery accepted his entry of a 30" bronze The Rail Splitter depicting Abraham Lincoln in the nude. In the midst of critical derision, Clapp firmly stated that the museum would not be acquiring any Clivette works and said he hoped the inclusion of the work had taught gallery goers something about good taste. (A California dealer represents a Merton Clivette, 1868-1931, a painter compared to the Ashcan School and Chaim Soutine, but this cannot be the same person.)
Colarossi, Filippo (?). Italian sculptor. Exhibited Paris Salon des Artists,1885-80. Founded Académie Colarossi, one of the places where Clapp studied.
Corot, Jean-Baptiste Camille (1796-1875). French landscape painter and etcher. Leading painter among the Babizons. His vast and popular output foreshadowed the plein-air innovations of the Impressionists. (He as so popular and so much imitated and so much faked that the quip in French art circles is that "he painted 1000 paintings, of which 5000 are found in America.")
Cubism. A profoundly influential art movement pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, 1907-1911, followed by the young Spaniard Juan Gris. Initially known as Analytic Cubism, it spread from plastic arts to music and literature. Its second phase was known as Synthetic Cubism and remained vital until just after World War I. The artist depicts objects or scenes from multiple points of view in the same picture. Objects interpenetrate one another, panes are jumbled, and perspective is obliterated. Many other fine artists were caught up in the movement and created notable art. The key artists were supported by dealer Daniel Henry Kahnweiler.
Cullen, Maurice Galbraith (1866-1934). Canadian painter known for his winter landscapes. Born in St. John's Newfoundland. In 1944 was declared a "Canadian Person of National Historic Significance" by the Canadian government.
Dada, Dadaism. An art movement which broke out in Zurich, Switzerland during World War I and soon infiltrated music, literature, politics, and culture. It rejected usual standards, becoming an anti-art that considered the meaninglessness of the modern world. It became a groundwork for abstract art, performance art, Surrealism, and maybe, much later, Pop Art. Originated with Tristan Tzara, Hugo Ball, Jean Arp, and others, perhaps as cabaret manifestations.
Daubigny, Charles François (1817-1876). French. Important Barbizon painter and precursor to Impressionism. Turned his boat Botin into a floating studio. Some of is most famous landscapes were of trees, rivers, and a few ducks. If he really liked a painting he would add another duck or two.
Davies, Arthur (1863-1928). American avantgarde artist and a principal organizer of the N. Y. Armory Show of 1913. Member of the Eight.
de la Peña, Narcisse Virgilio Diaz (1807-1876). French. Entered the studios of Sevres to become a porcelain painter. Befriended Théodore Rousseau and became a popular Barbizon artist.
Degas, Edgar (1834-1917). French painter, sculptor, and printmaker. One of founders of Impressionism, although he preferred to be called a realist. Over half his works depict dancers. Excelled in horse race depictions, nudes, and portraits.
Delecius. One of Clapp's teachers in Paris. No other information found.
Derain, André (1880-1954). French. Co-founder with Henri Mantises of Fauvism. The vivid, unnatural colors they used led these artists to de dubbed Fauvist wild beast. Sent to London by Paris dealer Ambroise Vollard to depict the city, he returned with 30 paintings (29 still extant) which were radically different from anything painted there by Whistler or Monet.
Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider). A group of German artists centered in Munich who shared a common desire to express spiritual truths through their art. They believed in "modern art" and shared a relationship with music. They came together a decade after the die Brücke group. They took their name from a painting by Wassily Kandinsky, their most notable member. Others were Franz Marc, August Macke, Alexej von Jawlensky, Gabriele Münter, Lyonel Feininger, Albert Block, and Paul Klee.
Die Blaue Vier (The Blue Four). An outgrowth of The Blue Rider comprising Kandinsky, Jawlensky, Feininger, and Klee. They were represented by Galka Scheyer, who brought their work to the United States and negotiated with William Henry Clapp for their first American museum exposure, at the Oakland Art Gallery, where they subsequently had their first one-man museum manifestations.
Die Brücke (The Bridge). A group of German artists Erich Heckel, Ernest Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bley, and Karl Schmidt-Rotluff—who organized under that name because of the Brücke Museum in Berlin in 1905. Going beyond their counterparts, the French Fauves, they expressed feelings through bright color, raw emotion, and sometimes crude drawing, a reaction to French and academic art at the time, but were unwilling to indulge in total abstraction. Their art was often sexually charged. Die Brücke was seen as a bridge between past and present. They revived old techniques, such as woodcut prints, but gave them a new shock. Isolating themselves in a lower-class neighborhood in Dresden encouraged their desire to overthrow conventional moers. By the outbreak of World War I the group was gone.
Dixon, Maynard (1875-1946). American artist whose work focused on the West. Colorful, he often dressed as a cowboy. His work evolved, becoming more powerful, with an emphasis on composition and color. (I grew up in Carson City, NV. When I was 22 I went to Paris, where I called on an American woman who lived almost in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower and had babysat me so long ago. In her apartment she had two Maynard Dixon landscapes of the hills behind Carson City, including C Hill. Instant home sickness.)
Dufy, Raoul (1877-1953). French Fauvist painter whose decorative style became fashionable for ceramics and textiles. Evolved through Fauvism and Cubism to a technique of light color washes and quick brushstrokes which some called stenographic. (In the late 1960s when I was invited to lunch at the home of a Algur Meadows, a Dallas oil tycoon, his dining room walls were lined with a beautiful collection of Dufy Mediterranean scenes all of which turned out to be fakes. He was courageous and pursued his source in French courts. I dedicated my book The Fabulous Frauds, Fascinating Tales of Great Art Forgeries, to him.)
Dupré, Jules (1811-1889). French. A chief Barbizon painter, especially of dramatic events sunsets, stormy skies, tumultuous seas.
Durand-Ruel, Paul (1831-1922). French. Pivotal Paris art dealer, with later galleries added in London and New York. He hitched his wagon to the Impressionists. Financed artists and gave them exhibitions, expanding a family business which had represented Corot and the Barbizons.
Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts. The National School of Fine Arts, Paris. Did not admit women. Clapp studied there. Most often referred to without "Nationale" being included. Founded by Cardinal Mazarin in 1648. (The French have a number of National Schools of Fine Arts. My good friend Louis-Marie Jullien, the only great tapestry artist of the 20th Century to create masterpieces in both figurative and abstract idioms, went periodically to Nancy, France, where he held the position as a professor in the Ecole Nationale des Beaus-Arts, Nancy.)
Fairbanks, Jonathan Leo (1933). American painter and distinguished museum curator. Comes in the middle of at least five generations of accomplished artists, which started with painter John B. Fairbanks (1855-1940), then John Leo Fairbanks (1878-1946), and finally his father, Avard Tennyson Fairbanks, the famous figurative sculptor, from whom he had his first training. Became a curator at the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Museum before going to the founding curator of the Department of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he served for three decades.
Fauvism, Fauves. Les Fauves, French for wild beasts. Rejected the values of Impressionism in favor of unnatural bright colors and bold, unconventional color juxtapositions. Began about 1900 and was strongest 1905-07. Included Henri Matisse, André Derain, Albert Marquet, Louis Valtat, Maurice de Vlaminck, Kees van Dongen, Raoul Dufy, Georges Braque, and many others.
Feininger, Lyonel (1871-1965). American painter. Studied in Berlin and Paris. Associated with the German Expressionist groups Die Brücke, Novembergruppe, Gruppe 1917, Blaue Reiter and The Blue Four, which had its first American museum exhibition in the Oakland Art Gallery. He was also a pianist and composer.
Folk Art. Akin to Primitive or Naif art. Produced by seemingly ordinary people as a part of their working lives or cultural development. Unsophisticated in the eyes of many, some folk artists are very gifted. Folk art appeals to many collectors.
Friesz, Emile-Anthon (1879-1949). French. One of the first Fauves, with Derain, Vlaminck, and Matisse.
Futurism. In 1909 Filippo Tommaso Marinetti launched his Futurist Manifesto expressing a passionate loathing for everything from the past. He was soon joined by Italian painters, as his viewpoint began echoing through every facet of Italian culture. The artists were slow in developing a cohesive esthetic, and Cubism became a significant influence. Although Futurism had some influence outside of Italy, its main impact was at home, where it helped pave the rise of Fascism.
Gagnon, Clarence (1881-1952). Canadian. Studied in Montreal under Brimner and with Clapp. Painted with Clapp at Bay St. Paul. Studied in Paris, where he established a studio which he kept for many years, even after returning to Canada at various times. Became a much-loved Canadian graphics artist.
Gauguin, Paul (1848-1903). French. Leading Post-Impressionist whose early career was influenced by friendships with Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne. Abandoning a career as a stockbroker in Copenhagen, he painted in France, Panama, Martinique, and Tahiti. His friendship with Van Gogh was notoriously stormy.
Gaw, William Alexander (1891-1973). California painter. Moved from San Francisco to Berkeley. Taught at the California School of Fine Art, spent 15 years as Chairman of the Art Department, Mills College. He painted in bright colors and ventured into both Cubism and Post-Impressionism. Was denied membership in the Society of Six.
Gay, August Francois Pierre (1891-1949). California painter, Born in Southern France, he brought an appreciation of Impressionism with him, although he was only 10 when he arrived in Oakland. Tubercular, he spent three years recuperating and endlessly sketching on an uncle's ranch in the Imperial Valley. Met and became a protégé of Selden Gile and became a member of the Society of Six. Moved to Monterey and designed furniture.
Gile, Seldon (1877-1940). California painter and influential member of the Society of Six. Born in Maine, moved to California in 1901. Studied under a number of artists, including William Henry Clapp. Painted in the classical style of landscapist William Keith, but about the time of Clapp's arrival his technique and palette turned towards Impressionism and Fauvism but grew to a personal expression that set him and others of the Six quite apart.
Gillespie, Katherine (?). California artist who created a beautifully painted plaster decoration for the Women's Club of San Francisco (an echo of da Vinci's Sistine ceiling) which was painted over because of objections to its nude figures.
Giotto (Giotto di Bondonee) (1267-1337). Florentine painter and architect. First great artist of the Renaissance.
Glackens, William (1870-1938). American. Painter, illustrator, and cofounder of the Aschcan School movement The Eight. Later work showed the influence of Renoir, and he is often called the American Renoir. (Susan Corn Conway established her art gallery and restoration studio in the Georgetown townhouse, Washington, DC, where Glackens lived.)
Gris, Juan (1887-1927). Spanish painter and sculptor, settled in Paris in 1906. Close associate of Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Leger, Modigliani. Became, with Picasso and Braque, one of the great Cubist painters. Died young.
Guillaumin, Armand (1841-1927). French Impressionist and lithographer. Lifelong friend of Pissarro, Cézanne, and later Van Gogh. Represented by Theo Van Gogh. (When the Texas oil tycoon mentioned in the Dufy note, above, came to Paris to buy art he found some Guillaumins on the market for $5,000 each. A few years later he returned intent to purchase the paintings and was chagrined to discover the prices had gone up to $40,000. That may be when he decided to buy the Dufys.)
Hagedorn, Edward. (?). At the Fifth Annual Exhibition of the Oakland Art Gallery, 1927, the radical jury selected two nude paintings, one, Nude No. 1, by Hagedorn. They elicited a vociferous public protest from some local women and a public vote from museum attendees as to whether the paintings should be removed or allowed to stay. The paintings won overwhelming approval 79%. This precipitated the Great Oakland Art War the next year.
Harnett, William (1848-1892). American. One of America's three finest masters of trompe l'oeil (fool the eye) still life painting (with Raphaelle Peale and John F. Peto). Born in Ireland of parents who emigrated because of the potato famine. Studied and painted in Germany before returning to the U.S. He and Peto were largely forgotten until Alfred Frankenstein (1906-1900), the powerful arts critic of The San Francisco Chronicle, organized an exhibition of their work in the Santa Barbara museum and wrote the book After the Hunt, William Harnett and the Other Still Life Painters, 1870-1900, published in 1969. The book rescued these forgotten painters. (I saw the Santa Barbara show while taking a French painter/collector on a tour of American museums. We saw no Harnetts in any other collections. Two years later we did another museum tour. This time many of the museums had acquired Harnetts. My friend, whose eye was better than most of the museum directors and curators I ever encountered, had painted some pictures for a Bavarian hunting lodge in the days before Hitler. He remembered a pair of paintings which were in the lodge. Fortunately his patron was still alive, although much older, and was about to get rid of the lodge. He sold the two paintings to my friend, who took them back to Paris. When Frankenstein came to Paris to look at the paintings, he told me privately that they were the most important Harnett paintings to surface in decades.)
Harpignies, Henri (1819-1916). French Barbizon master. Enjoyed warm friendship with Corot.
Harris, Lawren Stewart (1885-1970). Canadian painter, influential member of the Group of Seven dedicated to depicting Canada in non-European expressions. His depictions of the Canadian north and Arctic became progressively more abstract. So that people would not judge his works because of his name or when they were painted, he stopped signing and dating them. In 1916 was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.
Harsh, Robert B. (?). American. Etcher and art professor, Stanford University. Assistant Director of Fine Arts, Pan-Pacific Exposition, first director of the Oakland Art Gallery.
Hartley, Marsden (1877-1943). American modernist painter, poet, and essayist. Admired Albert Pinkham Ryder and became affiliated with Alfred Stieglitz and the 291 Gallery. Member of the cultural vanguard that included Gertrude Stein, Charles Demuth, Georgia O'Keefe, Fernand Léger, and Ezra Pound.
Hébert, Henri (1884-1950). Canadian sculptor. Was a Clapp roommate in Paris. Exposed in the Paris Salon beginning 1907.
Heckel, Erich (1883-1970). German painter and printmaker. Member Die Brücke Expressionist group, a midpoint between traditional neo-romantic German paintings and modern Abstract Expressionism. Made 465 woodcuts, 375 etchings, and 400 lithographs. Declared degenerate by the Nazis; many works destroyed.
Henri, Robert, né Robert Cozad (1865-1929). American painter. Embraced Impressionism while studying at the Julian and the Beaux-Arts in Paris. Became associated with the Philadelphia Four: William Glackens, George Luks, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan. Back in Paris associated with the Canadian Impressionist James Morrice. Then in New York, The Four joined, Maurice Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, and Arthur B. Davies to form The Eight or Ashcan School. Henri taught scores of other painters. (His father changed the name from Cozad after he killed a rancher in Nebraska; the father was later exonerated.)
Hewton, Randolph (1888-1960). Canadian painter. Studied at the Julian, 1908-13. Exhibited with A. Y. Jackson, 1913. Went overseas with the Canadian army during the Great War, was decorated. Although he became president of the Miller Brothers box company, he continued to paint and won many honors during and after his lifetime.
Hofer, Karl (1878-1955). German Expressionist. Painted like Die Brücke but was not a member of the group. Declared degenerated by the Nazis but recognized after the war as a great German painter.
Impressionism. The most influential art movement of the 19th Century, eventually spreading from France to most parts of the world. Emphasized the changing qualities of light and the wonders and challenges of visual perception. Influenced music and literature. The subject of thousands of books and thousands of exhibitions since the 1870s.
Inness, George (1825-1984). American. Great American Tonalist whose work defined the school. Influenced by his contact with the Barbizon's work in France in the early 1850s. His art had a mystical component.
Irwin, Katryne. (?). Canadian painter, studied under Brymner. Gagnon's first wife.
Jackson, Alexander Young (1881-1974). Canadian. Member of the Group of Seven. One of the nation's most loved artists. Studied under Brymner in Montreal before going to Paris. Also studied under William Henry Clapp and was a World War I official artist. Was about to move to Chicago when persuaded to come instead to Toronto, were the Seven was formed.
Jacque, Charles-Emile (1813-1894). French. Barbizon painter. Began as apprentice mapmaker. In England did woodcuts and illustrated works of Shakespeare. Painted in the Forêt de Fontainebleau and exhibited in the Paris Salon1870-1888; won numerous honors.
Jawlensky, Alexei von (1864-1941). Russian Expressionist painter active with Der Blaue Reitner and Die Blaue Vier, the Blue Four. In 1896 moved from Moscow to Munich, where he met Kandinsky, also Russian. Represented in America by Gala Schemer, first exhibited in a museum by William Henry Clapp and the Oakland Art Gallery.
Johnston, Frank (1880-1949). Canadian painter. Worked in tempera. His association with the Group of Seven was brief, exhibiting with them only once. He painted so prolifically that he could exhibit by himself, once with 60 works and later with 200, working with department store art galleries.
Julian, Rodolphe (1839-1907). French artist. Exhibited genre paintings and portraits in the Paris Salon beginning in 1865. Founded the Académie Julian, a private school in Paris for art students. Thousands studied there, and many became famous. Most of the Canadian Impressionists spent time there, as did scores of Americans. Allowed many students to study free. The Nabis group was formed there by some of the students.
Kahlo, Freda (1907-1954). Mexican painter. Used vibrant colors inspired by the indigenous culture of Mexico, influenced by Realism, Symbolism, and Surrealism. Married to Diego Rivera.
Kahnweiler, Daniel-Henry (1884-1979). German-born ex-stockbroker. Moved to Paris, became one of the most important art dealers of the 20th Century. One of the first champions of Cubism, Georges Braque, and Pablo Picasso, whom he represented all his life, as well as Kees Van Dongen, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger, Maurice de Vlaminck, and several Surrealists.
Kandinsky, Wasily (1886-1944). Russian painter and art theorist. A Russian lawyer, he started painting at age 30 and moved to Munich. Became important member of the Blue Four, represented in America by Gala Schemer, given first museum showing by William Clapp at the Oakland Art Gallery. Taught at the Bauhaus until it was closed the Nazis in 1933. Moved to France, became a French citizen.
Kent, Rockwell (1882-1971). American painter, printmaker, illustrator, and writer. Considered an early American Modernist. Inspired by stark beauty and austerity of the wilderness in places like Alaska, Newfoundland, Greenland, and Tierra del Fuego. Affiliated with far-left political movements, awarded Lenin Peace Prize in 1967.
Kirchner, Ernest (1880-1938). German Die Brücke Expressionist. In 1933 Nazis branded his work degenerate, and 600 of his works were burned or sold. Committed suicide.
Klee, Paul (1879-1940). Swiss painter. Became a German national and one of the Blue Four. Taught at Bauhaus. During his lasts year in Germany he produced nearly 500 works, and in 1939 in Switzerland he produced 1200 more. The Nazis seized 102 pieces.
Kokoschka, Oscar (1886-1980). Austrian painter, poet, and playwright. Declared degenerate b the Nazis, he fled from Germany to Austria in 1934 and later to England. Died in Switzerland. Now considered a master of German Expressionism.
Laperra, William-Jullien-Emile-Edouard (1873-1920). Student of Lefebvre, Bouguereau, Robert-Fleury. Won Prix de Rome, 1898. Academic painter. Supposedly taught Clapp in Madrid.
La Ruche. An artists' residence in the 15th arrondissement in Paris. This "beehive" was designed by Gustave Eiffel as a wine rotunda for the Great Exposition of 1900. It was dismantled and moved to become a cheap residence for artists, such as Guillaume Apollinaire, Alexander Archipenko, Ossip Zadkine, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, Jacques Lipshitz, Chaim Soutine, Robert Delaunay, Amedeo Modigliani, Constantin Brancusi, Diego Rivera, and many others. Jean Paul Sartre, Alexander Calder, Jean Renoir, and others interceded in 1971 to keep it from being demolished.
Lapin Agile. Paris. Noted Montmartre cabaret once called the "Cabaret of Assassins" because a gang of thugs broke in and killed the owner. In the early 20th Century artists congregated in this part of Paris near the Sacre Coeur Basilica, and the cabaret became the hangout for Picasso, Utrillo, Modigliani, Appolinaire, and many others.
Larionov, Mikhail (1881-1964). Russian. One of the turn-of-the-century geniuses who brought Russian art out of conservative bonds into the modern world. Studied in Moscow's College of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture. Met and married Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962), who became another of the giants. Became an Impressionist and a Symbolist. Gravitated towards Primitivism and folk art, but his major contribution, 1911, was in the development of Rayonism, a completely abstract form which concentrated on rays of colored light. Discharged from the Russian army, he and Goncharova migrated to Switzerland to work with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.
Laurens, Paul (1838-1921). French painter and sculptor, one of last major exponents of French Academism. Professor, Ecole National Superieure de Beaux-Arts. Clapp studied under him. Two of his sons became teachers at the Julian.
Le Bateau-Lavoir. Literally, The Wash-ship. Paris, Montmartre district. A dark and dirty building where the most impoverished of the Paris artists lived at the beginning of the 20th Century, including Picasso and Gris.
Le Dieu, Philippe (1805-?). French animal and portrait painter, With Aligny, one of the discoverers of Barbizon as a place to paint.. Exhibited in Paris Salon, 1831-1850.
Lefebvre, Jules (1836-1911). French figure painter, winner of Pris de Rome, 1861. Exhibited 72 portraits in Paris Salon, 1855-1898. At the Julian he instructed more than 1500 students, including Clapp.
Léger, Fernand (1881-1955). French painter, sculptor, tapestry cartonnier, and film maker. Destroyed his early Impressionist works after meeting avantgarde artists Archipenko, Lipchitz, Chagall, and Robert Delaunay. Created Tubism, his take on Cubism. In 1910 joined other artists to form the Puteaux Group. Became lifelong friend of Architect LeCorbusier.
Lehre, Florence Wieben (1899-1931). American. Clapp's dynamic assistant at the Oakland Art Gallery (Museum), art critic, and tireless promoter. Her sudden death was a devastating blow to Clapp, the museum, and the art community.
Lewis, Phillips (?). Served as a conservative juror for the Fifth Annual Art Exhibition of the Oakland Art Gallery in 1927.
Lismer, Arthur (1885-1932). Canadian painter. Born in England, influenced in Antwerp by the Barbizons and Post-Impressionists, emigrated to Canada in 1911. Worked for a satirical magazine and met four other artists who, with him, founded the Group of Seven known for its portrayals of Canadian rural and wilderness scenes. In 1967 made a Companion of the Order of Canada.
Logan, Robert Fulton (1889-?). Canadian/American. Painter and watercolorist. Painted in France and knew Morrice. Born in Manitoba, naturalized U.S. citizen, 1918.
Logan, Maurice George (1886-1977). California artist, member of the Society of Six. Father objected to his interest in becoming a painter, but he was supported by his brothers. Grew up in a Bohemian atmosphere and knew Ambrose Bierce and Jack London. Became neighbor to Selden Gile. Thrived by developing a successful commercial arts business.
MacDonald, James Edward Henry (1973-1921). Canadian Painter. Born in England, moved to Canada, where he studied commercial art. Encouraged by Lawren Harris. Became a member of Canada's famous Group of Seven.
Macdonald-Wright, Stanton (1890-1973). American abstract painter, co-founder of Synchronism, the creation of emotion through color, which became the hallmark of several well-known French painters.
Manet, Edouard (1832-1883). French painter, one of the first 19th Century artists to approach modern life subjects. A pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism. His watershed Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia, 1863, fomented heated controversy.
Manguin, Henri (1874-1943). French Impressionist and Fauvist. Used bright pastel hues, often on Mediterranean landscapes.
Marquet, Albert (1875-1947). French. One of founders of Fauvism: exhibited in the 1905 Salon d'Automne with Friesz, Rouault, Dufy, Manguin, Braque, Valtat, Defrenoy, and Jean Puy. In Venice and Naples painted seas and boats, accenting light over water.
Matégot, Mathieu (1910-2001). Hungarian, French nationalized. Giant of modern, handwoven French tapestry art, introduced abstraction and several weaving techniques to the artform. His Rouen, which hangs in the departmental capitol in Rouen, covers 100 square yards of wall and is the largest modern tapestry ever woven in a single piece. Created more than 600 different cartoons. Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters. (In the artworld, one of my closest friends.)
Mathews, Arthur Frank (1860-1945). American Tonalist painter. Son of an architect. Grew up in San Francisco, studied in Paris at the Julian, 1885-89. Influenced by academic classicism of his teachers, including Jules Lefebvre, and the tonalism of James Abbott McNeill Whistler and the symbolism of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. Published the arts and crafts magazine Philopolis in San Francisco and taught many Bay Area artists, including Granville Redmond, Xavier Martinez, Armin Hansen, Gottardo Piazzoni, and Maynard Dixon.
Matisse, Henri (1869-1954). French. One of the world's best-known artists of the 20th Century. Initially a Fauve. Master of color and composition. Early collectors were the Cone Sisters, who bequeathed their large Matisse collection to the Baltimore museums. His icons frequently appear in the Neo-Iconography art of Dr. Tsing-fang Chen, one of the two or three most important artists in the world today.
Maurer, Alfred (1868-1932). American modernist. Won gold medal at International Exposition in Munich, 1905. Two years later in Paris he took to Cubism and Fauvism and painted in those styles the rest of his life.
Millet, Jean François (1814-1875). French. A leading light in the Barbizon school. Depicted the common working person, a departure from the subject matter of the academics. Became immensely popular, especially in the United States, where reproductions of The Gleaners hung in thousands of classrooms. Inspired Van Gogh.
Monet, Claude (1840-1926). French. Considered by many to be the greatest of the Impressionists. In 1883 he purchased two acres in Giverny, where he painted and built picturesque gardens which often were his subject matter. (My French artist friend Nat Leeb (1910-1991), whom I consider one of the greatest colorists of the 20th Century, lived next door to Georges Clemenceau in Paris. The former premier of France was a friend of Monet, and he took young Leeb, who was already receiving international recognition, to meet Monet, who urged him to continue using his gift for beautiful color.)
Monticelli, Adolphe Joseph Thomas (1824-1886). French painter. Worked in Paris and Marseilles. After 1860 adopted a life of joie de vivre and pleasures voluptuous elegance, rich in colorful artifices. Very popular, gave rise to term Monticellian. Takes up three pages in Benezit.
Morisot, Berthe (1841-1895). French, a reputed descendant of Fragonard. Had early friendship with Corot. One of the first Impressionists, she was the sister-in-law of Manet, who took an interest in her but she drew him into the Impressionist circle. Died young.
Morrice, James (1865-1924). Canadian landscape painter. Son of a wealthy merchant. Studied at Académie Julian, Paris, where he became a friend of Maurice Prendergast, as well as Somerset Maughan, Arnold Bennett, and Clive Bell. Shared an apartment with Matisse in Tangiers, 1911-12. Member Salon d'Automne, 1905. With outbreak of World War I, he returned to Canada and then (like William Henry Clapp) painted in Cuba. Went to Algiers in 1922 and painted with Albert Marquet. Considered a Post-Impressionist. Died of alcoholism.
Nabis, Les (The Prophets, from Hebrew and Arabic). A group of avantgarde, Post-Impressionist French artists who began to be recognized at the end of the 19th Century, notably Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Paul Serusier.
Napoleon III (1808-1873). Also known as Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte. French. President of the Second Republic. Although elected president by a popular vote in 1848, in 1851 he staged a coup d'etat and ascended the throne as emperor. Among other adventures, he tried conquering Mexico and fought wars in the Crimea, Senegal, Cochinchina, Italy, Korea, and Prussia. Defeated in the Franco-Prussian War, he lost Alsace-Lorraine to the new German Empire and his own emperorhood. Led, with Haussmann, in the urban restructuring of Paris and its grand avenues.
Neuhaus, Eugen (?). Professor at the University of California art department at the time of the Hagdorn-Brissey nudes controversy of the Fifth Annual Exhibition at the Oakland Art Gallery, 1927.
Newton, Francis (1873-?). American painter and architect. Studied at the Colarossi, worked in New York.
Nolde, Emile (1867-1956). German painter and printmaker. Early member of Die Brücke and one of the great artists of the 20th Century. Born Emil Hansen in Nolde, Denmark, took the town's name, maybe because the world was full of Hansens. Began career as an artist at 30 in Germany. Left Die Brücke and the Berlin Secessionist groups. Exhibited with Kandinsky and the Blaue Reiters in 1912. Although an early Nazi, his art was rejected by Hitler as degenerate, and 1053 of his works were sized and mostly burned, the worst loss of the condemned artists. No longer allowed to paint, in secret he created hundreds of watercolors, which he called his "unpainted" art. (I had seen a few Noldes in American and European museums. In 1981 a Tokyo museum mounted a huge Nolde retrospective. It was one of the most memorable museum exhibitions I have seen, and I became a Nolde lover.)
Parsons, the New School for Design. Began as the William Merritt Chase School, 1896.
Pechstein, Max (1881-1955). German Expressionist painter and printmaker. Helped form Berlin Secession. Vilified by Nazis: 326 of his paintings were removed from museums. Created 421 lithographs, 315 woodcuts, 165 intaglios.
Perez, other data unknown. Cuba. Perhaps a student of Clapp.
Piazzoni, Gottardo (1872-1945). American painter. Active in San Francisco, where he taught in the California School of Fine Arts. Served on Clapp's Oakland Art Gallery juries.
Picasso, Pablo (1881-1875). Spanish, settled in Paris. Painter, draughtsman, sculptor, pottery designer, co-founder of Cubism. Easily the most famous and successful artist of the 20th Century. Represented by Kahnweiler.
Pilot, Robert Wakeham (1898-1967). Canadian painter, etcher, and muralist. Born in Newfoundland. In Montreal in 1910 he became the step-son of painter Maurice Cullen, who taught him art. Studied on credit under Brymner. Invited to show with the Group of Seven in 1920. Studied at the Julian, 1920-22. Won Jessie Dow Prize at least twice. Admired Clapp.
Pissarro, Camille (1830-1903). French artist born in the Virgin Islands. Known as a father of Impressionism. Student of Corot. His early home in Louvenciennes and paintings were destroyed by Prussians during the Franco-Prussian War, 1870. Not happy with the romanticism of other Impressionists, he investigated Pointillism. Sold only four paintings during his lifetime.
Plein air, en. In open air. Painting outdoors. Facilitated in the 1870s by the invention of tubed colors and the French box easel. Before that the Barbizons made painting on site a virtue; the later inventions facilitated the Impressionists. The Society of Six were avid plein air artists.
Pointillism. A technique for painting with small, distinct dots of pure color, a technique developed by Georges Seurat. Like many Impressionist paintings, it relies on the eye to mix the juxtaposed colors. Its notable practitioners were Seurat, Signac, and Cross.
Porter, Dr. William S. California collector and President of the Oakland Art Association, which led to the creation of the Oakland Art Gallery, to which he gave his collection.
Post-Impressionism. Rejecting the limits of Impressionism, its artists frequently emphasized geometric forms, distorted natural forms for visual effect, and used unnatural color. Paul C zanne and Vincent van Gogh are its giants.
Prendergast, Maurice (1858-1924). American Post-impressionist. Born in Newfoundland. Member of the Eight, although the mosaic quality of his painting was individual. In Paris became the friend of the Canadian Impressionist James Morrice. Met Vuillard and Bonnard.
Primitivism. Work done by self-taught artists. The French prefer the word naif (naive). Word also used to refer to pre-historic, non-Western, and folk art--and modern borrowings from these sources.
Puteaux Group/Section d'Or. Also known as the Golden Section. A significant offshoot of Cubism. Its artists: Guillaume Apollinaire, Robert Delaunay, Fernand Léger, and the three brothers—Marcel Duchamp, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, and Jacques Villon .
Raphael, Sanzio (1483-1520). Italian master of the High Renaissance. Noted for his serene and harmonious qualities. Worked in Venice and Rome. His series of seven surviving cartoons for tapestries depicting the lives of St. Paul and St. Peter than hang in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, are arguably the greatest art treasures in Great Britain.
Rartridge, Roi (?). American. Etcher. Although an arch-conservative, he was the head of the art department at Mills College, and when the great Oakland Art War broke out in 1928 he offered the college's facilities to house the Sixth Annual Exhibition of the Oakland Gallery if Clapp and the directors wanted to move the show.
Rayonism. A style of abstract art developed in 1911 and first exhibited two years later by Mikhail Larianov and his wife Natalia Goncharova using dynamic rays which represented lines of light of contrasting colors reflected from various objects. The artists sought art which floated beyond abstraction, outside of time and space. They wrote, "We do not sense the object with our eye; in fact we do not sense the object at all."
Relange, Jean-Maxime (1938). French painter, co-owner of the art academy that succeeded the famed Julian.
Renoir, Pierre August (1841-1919). French. A leading developer of Impressionism. Began studying in Paris in 1863, met Alfred Sisley, Fréderic Bazille, and Claude Monet. During Paris Commune of 1871 some of the Communists thought he was a spy when he painted on the banks of the Seine. In the 1880s Suzanne Valadon posed for him. She became an important painter in her own right. In his arthritic years he had to strap brushes to his hands. Some of his greatest paintings are found in the Chicago Art Institute and the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.
Richter, Hans (1888-1965). German avant garde painter and graphic artist, Berlin born. In 1912 influenced by Blaue Reiter group and two years later by Cubism. In 1916 had his first exhibition, in Munich. He was wounded in battle the same year and discharged from the German army. Began experimenting in film and in 1919 co-founded the Association of Revolutionary Artists in Zurich, Switzerland. Moved to the U.S. in 1849 and became an American citizen. Produced and directed films before returning to painting.
Rivera, Diego (1882-1957). World-famous Mexican painter, muralist, and Communist. Descended from Catholic Jews and Spanish nobility. Studied in Madrid and Paris, where he associated with artists of La Ruche, the artists' center built by Haussmann and Napoleon III. In his studios he taught many of the best-known artists of the 20th Century.
Robert-Fleury, Tony (1837-1912). French painter. Succeeded Bouguereau as President of the Société des Artistes Français. Painter of historical compositions and portraits. Taught many of best-known 20th Century artists.
Rouault, Georges (1871-1958). French Fauvist and Expressionist. Apprenticed as a glass maker and restorer, which led to the heavy black contourings and glowing colors of many of his paintings. Was the favorite student of Gustave Moreau. Helped found the Salon d'Automne. Burned 300 of his own paintings.
Rousseau, Théodore (1812-1867). French. A leader of the Barbizons. He lived in the vicinity for most of his life after 1848, an unsuccessful and unfortunate move. Died in the presence of Millet.
Royer, Henri Paul (1869-1938). French painter. Born in Alsace, he had a strong affinity for Brittany, learning the regional language and painting many religious depictions, manifesting his deep Catholic faith. Was a professor at the Académie Julian and the Académie des Beaux-arts.
Russel, John (1907-1966). Canadian painter.
Ryder, Worth (?). American. Briefly the second curator (director) of the Oakland Art Gallery.
Scheyer, Galka (1889-1945). German painter/art impresario, became American citizen. Came to the United States representing the Blue Four: Kandinsky, Klee, Jawlensky, and Feininger; struck up relationship with William Henry Clapp and the Oakland Art Gallery that gave them their first museum showings in America. Eventually settled in Southern California. Died of cancer.
Schmidt-Rotluff, Karl (1884-1976). German Die Brücke Expressionist. Added the name of his birthplace, Rotluff, to his name in 1905. Die Brücke was created in Dresden in 1905 by a group of students of architecture including him, Kirchner, Fritz Bleyel, and Erich Heckel. In 1937, 608 of his paintings were seized by the Nazis. He was also a printmaker: 300 woodcuts, 105 lithographs, 70 etchings, and 78 commercial prints.
Schurr, Claude, (b.1921). French painter. With Relange took over the successor art academy to the famed Julian.
Schwitters, Kurt (1889-1948). German painter, poet, sculptor, graphic designer. Works classified as Dada, Constructivism, Surrealism, and installation art. Famous for his collages.
Segal, Arthur (1875-1944). Romanian artist and writer. After study in Paris and Italy he exhibited in Germany with Die Brücke and Der Blaue Reiter groups and was co-founder of the Nue Sezession, whose works were rejected by the Berliner Sezession. Moved to Switzerland in 1914 and eventually to London.
Seurat, Georges-Pierre (1859-1891). French Neo-impressionist. His labored and magnificent large work A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884-86) altered the direction of modern art by introducing Pointillism and Neo-Impressionism. Had a large impact on William Henry Clapp.
Siegriest, Louis (1899-1989). American painter. The youngest member of the Society of Six, Oakland, CA. Except for assignments in Chicago, Dallas, and Seattle, etc.. lived entire life in the Oakland mansion where he was born. Aside from his work as a fine-arts painter, he was successful as a commercial artist, particularly in the creation of billboards. The University of Nevada, Reno, owns several hundred paintings he did of Virginia City.
Signac, Paul (1863-1935). French Neo-impressionist. Worked with Seurat in the development of Pointillism. In 1884 met Monet and Seurat and was struck by Seurat's working methods and theory of color. Abandoned Impressionism and experimented with juxtaposed small dots of color.
Simon, Lucient (1861-1915). French. Known for painting popular scenes. Warm, colorful palette. Also a gifted portraitist. Many awards and honors.
Simpson, Charles (1885-?). French painter of hunting scenes and marines, especially marine birds.
Stackpole, Ralph (1885-1973). American sculptor, painter, muralist, etcher, and art educator. In the 1920s and 1930s he was one of San Francisco's prominent artists. Studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Atelier Merces, 1906-08, exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1910. Back in the Bay area, he was one of four founders of the California Society of Etchers. (His wife Adele was one of the first graduates of the California Academy of Arts and was a designer of bookplates.) He sculpted architectural features for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Returned to Paris, 1922, with Gottardo Piazzoni. Back in California he completed many projects. In 1949 he and second wife, who was French, moved back to France. He died there in 1973.
Symbolism. Began as a literary movement inspired by works of Baudelaire, Poe, Mallarmé, and Verlaine but achieved greater success among artists, who were looking for visual metaphors and means for making visual penetrations of the soul. Rather than drawing from familiar icons, often the symbols used were deeply personal, even inscrutable. Influenced Art Nouveau and the Nabis.
Synchormism. Art movement founded in 1912 by Stanton MacDonald-Wright and Morgan Russell, Americans. Painted in chromatic scales, art could be heard. After shows in Munich, Paris, and New York, their abstract style spread internationally. It was the first non-objective painting in American art, and Robert and Sonia Delaunay in France produced some remarkable pieces.
Tamayo, Rufino (1899-1941). Zopotecan Indian painter. Moved to Mexico City in 1911. Experimented with Cubism, Impressionism, Fauvism with a Mexican feel. Refused to follow the political path of Rivera, Orozco, and Siquieros. Moved to New York in 1926. Later lived in Paris. Returned to Mexico in 1959. Painted his last work at age 90.
The Eight. A group of American artists, many who had been newspaper illustrators in Philadelphia, and although they exhibited together only once, in 1908, and their works were diverse, they are remembered as a group. Five of them Robert Henri, John French Sloan, William Glackens, Everett Shinn, and George Luks--are categorized as Ashcan painters because of their gritty urban scenes. Glackens, however, is more often called the "American Renoir." The others were Arthur B. Davies, Ernest Lawson, and Maurice Prendergast.
Thomson, Tom (1877-1917). Canadian painter. Although he died tragically before the formation of the Group of Seven, he is considered as one of them because of the way he painted and his closeness to many of them.
Tilden, Douglas (1861-1935). American. World-famous deaf sculptor, active on the California scene. His Football Players was he first permanent artwork at the University of California, Berkeley campus.
Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri de (1864-1901). French painter and illustrator. Painted theatrical life at end-of-century Paris. With Cézanne, van Gogh, and Gauguin one of the great Post-Impressionists.
Troyon, Constant (1810-1865). French. A first-rate animal painter. One of the Barbizons. Except towards the end of his life, his landscapes were not the equal of other Barbizons. Won five medals at the Paris Salon and was a favorite of Napoleon III.
Tzara, Tristan (1896-1963). Romanian and French. Avantgarde poet, writer, performance artist, and politician. One of founders of Dada, which evolved towards Surrealism. Credited with providing a bridge frm Cubism to the Beat Generation and rock music.
Van Dongen, Kees (1877-1968). Dutch. At the Salon d'Automne, 1905, one of first Fauvists. Member of German Die Brücke group. Lived in the famous Bateau Lavoir alongside Picasso. Painted fashionable portraits, including King Leopold III of Belgium and Brigitte Bardot.
Van Sloan, Frank (1879-1938).
Van Gogh, Vincent (1863-1890). Dutch Post-impressionist. Pioneer of Expressionism. Missionary in poor mining community in Belgium. After studying and painting in Holland and Belgium moved to Paris with brother Theo. Moved to Arles, France. Best work produced in his last two years. Rocky friendship with Gauguin. Little appreciated while alive, now regarded as one of the greatest and most expensive artists ever.
Varley, Fred (1881-1969). Canadian. Born in England. Member Group of Seven. Painted vast Canadian wilderness.
Vinton, Frederick Porter (1846-1911). American. Boston portrait painter. Provided Bay St. Paul cabin used by young Canadian painters William Henry Clapp and Clarence Gagnon.
Vlaminck, Maurice de (1876-1958). French. With Derain and Matisse, a principal figure in Fauve movement. Born into a musical family. Initially influenced by Van Gogh ("I loved that man more than my father") and later by Cézanne.
Vollard, Ambroise (1866-1939). Born on Reunion island, the French Colony in the Indian Ocean, he came to France to study law but became an art dealer. By the time Clapp arrived a dozen years later Vollard was big-time, working with Cézanne, Maillol, Renoir, Gauguin, and Van Gogh and with important American clients. Became increasingly famous for his publication of limited-edition prints by Rouault and others. After being killed in an automobile accident, without close heirs, his Yugoslav assistant locked 141 of his paintings in a bank vault. The assistant was killed by the Nazis in 1942, and the secret was lost. The bank opened the vault in 1979 for non-payment of rent. Legal disputes among heirs has delayed the sale of the trove; the court case was scheduled for 2010.
von Eichman, Bernard (1879-1970). American. Second youngest member of the Society of Six. Voracious reader. Sometimes worked in merchant marine and spent two years marooned in China. Moved to New York City, became a window dresser for Macy's.
Whistler, James Abbott McNeil (1834-1903). American born, British based. He lived in Russia while his father was building railroads for the Czar. Arrived in Paris, 1855, became a friend of painter Henri Fantin-Latour and then the circle of Gustave Courbet, including Baudelaire and Theophile Gautier. His character was combative, his art delicate but unsentimental. He painted "harmonies" and "nocturnes." His famous signature was a butterfly.
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