New Orleans, Louisiana
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 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
In this photograph, Clark stands in front of his painting Concord, which was the largest work Clark completed in Paris.
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.
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
Influences and Connections
Useful Resources on Edward Clark
- Explorations in the City of Light: African-American Artists in ParisBy Audreen, and Studio Museum in Harlem Buffalo
- Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and AbstractionBy Frank Bowling
- Edward Clark: A Complex Identity - October 7, 1980 - january 11, 1981By Anita Feldman