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Edward Clark
Born May 6, 1926(1926-05-06) (age 96)
Storyville, New Orleans, Louisiana
Nationality American
Political movement Abstract expressionism
Awards 1972:National Endowment for the Arts

Edward Clark, also known as Ed Clark (born May 6, 1926), is an African American abstract expressionist painter and one of the early experimenters with shaped canvas in the 1950s.[1][2] Edward Clark stated:[3]

"..all great artists can only do what they esteem to be right. No matter how it appears at first, it will always be beautiful."


Edward Clark was born May 6, 1926 in the Storyville section of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Military Service in World War II

Edward Clark served In World War II in the US Air Corps, stationed in Guam.


Ed Clark studied from 1947 to 1951 in The Art Institute of Chicago with Helen Gardner and Louis Ritman. Under the GI Bill of Rights which financed the higher education of recruits, Clark took residence in Paris in 1952. He enrolled at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière where he studied until 1953.[4]

Selected Solo Exhibitions


  • 1951 YMCA, Chicago, IL
  • 1955: Galerie Creuze, Paris, France

Edward Clark returned to New York City in 1956. He and Ted Jones (painter) were the first Afro-Americans that actively participated in the New York City Tenth Street galleries. Clark had his first one-man show in 1958 in the Brata Gallery. After the show he soon returned to Paris where he continued to show.

  • 1966: Galerie Creuze, Paris, France
  • 1969: American Embassy, Paris, France

Clark is the first Afro-American painter credited with working on a shaped canvas, an innovation that influenced contemporary art through the 1950s and 1960s. He is also known for his powerful brush stroke achieved with a push broom, large-scale canvases, and his vibrant use of color.[5] He arrives in Paris each summer and returns to New York City. He had number of well received exhibitions in both continents.

  • 1971: Donald Judd's Loft, New York City
  • 1972: Lehman College, New York, NY; 141 Prince Street Gallery, New York City; Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
  • 1974: South Houston, Gallery, New York City
  • 1975: James Yu Gallery, New York City
  • 1976: Sullivant Gallery, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • 1981: Citicorp Center, New York City
  • 1986: "Paris to New York, 1966-1986," G.R.N'Namdi Gallery, Birmingham, MI
  • 1989: Galerie Kasser-Bohbot, Hamburg, Germany
  • 1990: FIAC, Grand Palais, Paris, France; G.R.N'Namdi Gallery, Birmingham, MI
  • 1991: "The Search for Freedom: African-American Abstraction 1945-1975," Kenkeleba Gallery, New York City
  • 1996: "Explorations in the City of Lights: African-American Artists in Paris, 1945-1975," Studio Museum in Harlem
  • 1997: "Sweeps&Views; Clark & Cowans," Rush Arts Gallery, New York City
  • 2002: "Quiet as it's Kept," Christine Koenig Gallery, Vienna
  • 2003: "From Paris to New York," Parish Gallery, Washington, D.C.
  • 2007: "Ed Clark: For the Sake of the Search," Pensacola Museum of Art, Pensacola, Florida
  • 2009: "Masters for the First Family," Parish Gallery, Washington, D.C.
  • 2011: "Ed Clark, The Search: A Sixty-Year Retrospective," the N'Namdi Center of Contemporary Art, Detroit
  • 2012: "Louisiana Roots: Ed Clark Returns Home," Stella Jones Gallery, New Orleans
  • 2013: "Blues for Smoke," Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City

In 2013, Clark was presented with the Art Institute of Chicago's Legends and Legacy Award, in recognition of what it called his "pioneering paintings."[6] In 2014, upon viewing an exhibit of Clark's work at the Tilton Gallery, New York critic Barry Schwabsky wrote in The Nation, "He is, simply, one of the best living painters." He continued, "Paint as a literal, physical presence and as a trace of the artist's mental and physical activity becomes inseparable from the evocation of the glory of light."[7]

  • 2017: "Ed Clark: Paintings," Tilton Gallery, New York, NY

Museums and collections

Ed Clark’s paintings are included in the permanent collections of The Art Institute of Chicago; the Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit, Michigan; the Studio Museum in Harlem in New York, New York; the Metropolitan Museum in New York, NY; the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY; the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles, California, the Kresge Art Museum at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan; the James E. Lewis Museum of Art at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland; the Museum of Solidarity in Titograd, Yugoslavia; the Museum of Modern Art in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil; the Centro de Arte Moderno in Guadalajara, Mexico; and The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, among others.



External links

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