Alson Skinner Clark (1876-1949)

American

A true worldly artist, Alson Skinner Clark improved his natural talent with a variety of teachers, including William Merritt Chase and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Inspired by a diverse set of influences, he became one of America’s leading Impressionists. Late in his career some would identify Clark as a “California Impressionist” but to limit him to a single region is short-sighted and partially obscures his great lifetime career.

He was well associated with dealers in New York, Chicago and Paris. Previously he had studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Students League of New York, and the Academie Carmen with Whistler. He established studios in Watertown, New York, and Chicago, and in Giverny, he painted alongside Guy Rose in the American Colony. In 1920 he decided that his home would be Pasadena, California from then on.

Clark painted and exhibited an important series on the Panama Canal in the 1915 San Francisco Exposition. Clark’s historic paintings placed him alongside some of the most widely recognized and respected artists in the world, including John Singer Sargent and Childe Hassam. He would volunteer for duty in World War I, becoming a leading aerial photographer. After the War, he and the wife moved to Pasadena. The beauty of his West Coast paintings led him to be tied forever more to the region. Where many contemporaries pushed toward abstraction and surrealism, Clark used his technical expertise and subtle manipulation of light and color to hold to his mature, established Impressionism, pleasing critics and patrons alike.

The Stendahl Gallery represented Alson Skinner Clark in Southern California, and when they opened their location on Wilshire Boulevard in Spring 1937, a Clark exhibition was their featured opening show.