Alson Skinner Clark Biography

Alson Skinner Clark




Alson Skinner Clark, painter, printmaker, teacher, illustrator and mural painter, was born into a family of privilege on March 25, 1876, in Chicago, Illinois. His father, Alson Ellis Clark, was a well-to-do merchant and the family spent part of the year in Chicago and the summer months at their estate on Comfort Island. In 1889, the Clark family set off on a world tour which last two years.

Upon their return to Chicago, Clark enrolled in the English High and Manual Training School and studied art on Saturdays at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. After graduating from high school, he enrolled as a full time student at the Art Institute but left after only one year.  In 1895, he was enrolled at the Art Students League of New York where he studied under William Merritt Chase. When Chase left the Art Students League to open his own school, Clark followed him and studied with Chase for three years.

On the advice of Chase, Clark and two friends left for Paris in 1900 and while there studied at the Academies Julian, and Delecluse, and the short-lived Whistler School of Art. In 1902, Clark's small painting, The Violinist, was accepted for the Paris Salon.

Clark became interested in lithography in 1909 and purchased a lithographic press while in Paris. When Clark returned to his Paris studio the following year, he devoted himself to lithography and etching.

During World War I, Clark was commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy where he served as an aerial photographer. After the war, in 1919, he and his wife, Medora, purchased a lot at 1149 Wotkins Drive in Pasadena, California where he built a home and studio. In 1922, he and Guy Rose were the teaching faculty of the Stickney Art School in Pasadena and in the 1930 he taught at the Occidental College in Eagle Rock.

Clark was a member of the Senefelder Club of London, the Salmagundi Club, the Chicago Society of Artists, the California Society of Printmakers, the Pasadena Society of Artists, the California Watercolor Society, the Society of Western Artists, and the California Art Club. His work is represented in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Huntington Library, the McNay Art Museum, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Irvine Museum.

Alson Skinner Clark died on March 22, 1949.