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Alson Skinner Clark papers, 1870-1971, bulk 1890-1940

Alson Skinner Clark papers, 1870-1971, bulk 1890-1940

Clark, Alson Skinner, 1876-1949

Muralist, Landscape painter, Printmaker

Collection Information

Size: 7.2 linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter and muralist Alson Skinner Clark measure 7.2 linear feet and date from 1870 to 1971, with the bulk of the material from 1890 to 1940. Clark's career is documented through biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, galleries, and dealers; eleven diaries by the artist as well as 16 by his wife Medora Clark; stories and essays by Medora; financial records and business files of art and civilian concerns; assorted printed material including exhibition catalogs and announcements, maps, news clippings (singly and in scrapbooks), advertisements, and ephemera; and photographs of the artist, his friends and family, studio, travels, and artwork.

Biographical/Historical Note

Alson Skinner Clark (1876-1949) was a painter and muralist who travelled and worked in Europe, Mexico, Canada, Panama, and the United States, ultimately settling in southern California.

Provenance

The 1897 diary, sales notebook, glass negatives, and albums of negatives were donated 1986 by Joseph Moure, an art historian who purchased the material from occupants of Clark's former studio. The remainder was donated by Clark's son, Alson Clark, 1989-1992 and 1997 and by Clark's grand neice, Deborah Clark, in 2006.

A Finding Aid to the Alson Skinner Clark Papers, 1870-1971, bulk 1890-1940, in the Archives of American Art
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Biographical/Historical note
Alson Skinner Clark (1876-1949) was a painter and muralist who travelled and worked in Europe, Mexico, Canada, Panama, and the United States, ultimately settling in southern California.
Clark was born in Chicago, Illinois, and began training in 1891 at the age of 11 at the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1896 he studied under William Merritt Chase at the Art Students’ League of New York and briefly at the Chase School of Art before moving to Paris to train with James Abbott McNeill Whistler at the Academia Carmen in 1898. Alongside his wife, Medora (married 1902), Clark travelled extensively, painting the landscapes and urban activity of Chicago, New York, Quebec, France, Dalmatia, and Spain.
In 1913, Clark journeyed to Panama to document the construction of the canal, and in 1919, after serving as a military photographer in World War I, he settled in Pasadena, California, where he adopted the landscapes and colonial architecture of Mexico and the American West as subjects en plein air. It was during this time that Clark began to take on work as a muralist, accepting commissions from the local bank and theatre while also embarking on a teaching career at Occidental College and eventually the Stickney Memorial School of Fine Arts, where he served as director.
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged as 9 series. Glass plate negatives are housed separately and closed to researchers.
Series 1: Biographical Material, circa 1890-1958 (Box 1; 6 folders)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1895-1962 (Boxes 1-2; 1.7 linear feet)
Series 3: Diaries, 1889-1922 (Boxes 2-4; 1.5 linear feet)
Series 4: Writings, circa 1900-1962 (Boxes 4-5; 0.9 linear feet)
Series 5: Personal Business Records, 1889-1930 (Boxes 5, 8; 0.7 linear feet)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1890-1971 (Boxes 5-6; 0.2 linear feet)
Series 7: Artwork, circa 1910-1920 (Box 6; 2 folders)
Series 8: Photographs, circa 1885-1935 (Boxes 6, 8, 9; 1.6 linear feet)
Series 9: Scrapbooks, 1902-1955 (Boxes 7, 8; 0.5 linear feet)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of painter and muralist Alson Skinner Clark measure 7.2 linear feet and date from 1870 to 1971, with the bulk of the material from 1890 to 1940. Clark's career is documented through biographical material; correspondence with family, friends, galleries, and dealers; eleven diaries by the artist as well as 16 by his wife Medora Clark; stories and essays by Medora; financial records and business files of art and civilian concerns; assorted printed material including exhibition catalogs and announcements, maps, news clippings (singly and in scrapbooks), advertisements, and ephemera; and photographs of the artist, his friends and family, studio, travels, and artwork.
Provenance
The 1897 diary, sales notebook, glass negatives, and albums of negatives were donated 1986 by Joseph Moure, an art historian who purchased the material from occupants of Clark's former studio. The remainder was donated by Clark's son, Alson Clark, 1989-1992 and 1997 and by Clark's grand neice, Deborah Clark, in 2006.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Glass plate negatives are closed to researchers. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Alson Skinner Clark papers, 1870-1971, bulk 1890-1940. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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