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Edward Clark Photo

Edward Clark

American Painter

Born: May 6, 1926 - New Orleans, Louisiana
"...art is not subject to political games, its importance elevates it above any racial difference. All men of talent, of noble spirit, can make it."
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Edward Clark
"I'm still trying to paint that painting...I'm never satisfied with my paintings - but I'm less satisfied with everybody else."
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Edward Clark
"I'm a sum total of my experiences at this point. My art would look different now if I hadn't gone to Paris. I'm not saying this is good or bad. But it would be different. The experience of Paris is still with me."
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Edward Clark

Summary of Edward Clark

Ed Clark is an American Color Field painter whose style was shaped by the years he spent in Paris in the early 1950s. As an African-American who had been raised in the segregated South, he found Paris tolerant, and the atmosphere encouraging. While there, he developed a sophisticated abstract style that was markedly influenced by the Tachist painter Nicolas de Stael. His early work is remembered for his "push-broom technique," which encouraged his full physical involvement in painting. He is also noted for the monumental scale of his work, and the fact that he is one of the first painters to have used shaped canvases.

Biography of Edward Clark

Edward Clark Photo

Edward Clark was born in the Storyville section of New Orleans on May 6, 1926. When he was six, his parents Merion and Edward Sr., moved their family to Baton Rouge where they lived in a shotgun house with his father's great aunt. At this time, Clark began his elementary schooling, where he was first exposed to drawing. On one occasion, a nun at his Catholic school issued a challenge to Clark and his classmates: whoever could produce the best tree drawing would receive a gold star. Taking up the challenge, Clark won acknowledgement from his teachers for his artistic abilities as well as the gold star, and this experience awakened in Clark the desire to become an artist.

Important Art by Edward Clark

Progression of Art


In this photograph, Clark stands in front of his painting Concord, which was the largest work Clark completed in Paris.

Photograph - Artist's collection


The City

The City stands as one of Clark's first major experiments in abstraction. The painting evolved while he was working on a realistic representation of the city; dissatisfied with his results, he proceeded to "destroy" the image with his brush but found he liked the result of his destruction. Executed in an all-over manner, the colors almost appear to be in dialogue with one another.

Oil on canvas - Collection of John and Helen Slimak



Although not the first, this work is amongst Clark's early experimentations with shaped paintings. Like many of Clark's works, this piece is large in scale, measuring 46 by 55 inches

Oil on canvas with paper collage on wood - The Art Institute of Chicago


Big Egg

This painting is among Clark's early experiments with oval forms. Present is a strong horizontality that is emphasized by Clark's placement of warm and cool colors in individual fields.

Acrylic on canvas - Artist's collection


Untitled: Paris Series 1988

In this work Clark's departure from the Color Fields of the 1950s in favor of more dynamic tubular forms is evident. Unlike the Color Fields that were more discrete, with minimal intermingling of colors and forms, Clark juxtaposed his shapes and mixed his colors in a way that suggests a dialogue with one another.

Acrylic on canvas - Artist's collection


Pink Wave

A more recent work, Pink Wave reveals Clark's continued interest in the significance of action and gesture and the presence of the artist's hand.

Acrylic on canvas - G.R. N'Namdi Gallery

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Edward Clark
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Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

"Edward Clark Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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First published on 01 Aug 2012. Updated and modified regularly
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