Much is known about where and what our father painted. Little is known about what was used for paint and how this media was applied to his canvases. Many of his works have a story to tell. My little sister and I saw a different person than everyone else including our mother. On the creative side we grew up in "Clark Culture". When it came to leagal issues, economics family ethics and values our mother ran that department. To us father was daddy and on canvas our daddy was the "color wizard". Father's paintings had their own sun light. He timed his work. Nothing went over six hours. He has been known to complete an oil painting of a building on landscape in two and a half hours. My sister and I never saw him do that one. We have seen him paint a few oil paintings in three hours. Dad did other things besides paint pictures. You will hear about some of those other things shortly. (Full Size Window)

Folk for our Children
(transparent watercolor)

My father did studies for some of his oil paintings. The three watercolors on the left, right and below were done in 1944 during World War II. Finally an oil painting with title "Fredom Morning" was done the same year.

Freedom Morning
(transparent watercolor)

We were known to the community and friends as the "Clark Art Family". They made up their own fantacies of who they thought we were fore very few of them were appart of our inner circle.

Our father's art work can be classified under the following six headings; Claude Clark (Colorist), Claude Clark (Easel Painter), Claude Clark (Printmaker), Claude Clark (Book Illustrator), Claude Clark (draftsman), Claude Clark (College Professor), Claude Clark (Art Shows and Traveling Exhibits), Claude Clark (Artist Reporter) and Claude Clark (Storyteller). (Full Size Window)

United Workers
(lithograph print)

Freedom! ww II
(transparent watercolor)

Freedom Morning (oil painting on cavas)


The title "Freedom Morning" comes from a musical tribute to World War II Negro Troops composed by Marc Blitzstein. This music score was given its first premier in the United States by music conductor Saul Caston. Our father was chosen to provide a visual interpretation of Marc Blitzstein's composition for the Philadelphia Orchestra. All of the studies that may have contributed to the final art work can be seen above. The print United Workers was done on the federal arts project in the early 1940's and the paintings were done after the projects closed in 1942.

The painting on the left is a transparent water color done on paper and the painting on the right is an oil painting done on linen canvas, measuring 30 in. by 40 in. This particular oil painting was used in footage for a news real in 1944. The movie was designed to boost the moral of soldiers serving in arm forces overseas. Leonard Bernstein arranged a music score version for the film project. CLAUDE CLARK POSTER PRINTS

"Freedom Morning" is consistant with our father's concern for "...the common man and African Experience."


Father drew a rough draft of his subject with green or brown paint and a paintbrush. Our father painted with a palette knife. He owned several painters’ knives and a box full of brushes. He seldom used brushes or painters’ knives to paint. The painters’ knife blade was too weak. It didn't have enough spring to it. Oil brushes had to be very clean to get sharp clear colors. Cleaning brushes would be too time consuming and sorting the clean brushes from the dirty brushes would slow down the process of producing a finished pictural statement quickly. He bought brushes because he could afford to buy them. In art school during the 1930's our father was very poor and couldn't afford any nice things. He never bought any paint. Dad bought large quantities of powdered pigments from chemical supply companies. Then he bought empty paint tubes from tube manufacturers. The college or school paid for the supplies. Dad ordered enough for himself and students. One gallon containers of linseed oil were bought at a local hardware store. I am not sure where he bought the wax. He would order enough suplies in one year to last for several years.(Full Size Window)


Father learned how the Old European Masters, Impressionist, and Post Impressionist used pigment color at the Albert C. Barnes Foundation. He studied under Barnes and John Dewey for four years. Mother studied there for one year.

Dad worked on eleminating chalky whites, muddy colors and sickly greens from his oil paintings. Father used a palette knife to paint. It was easier to keep a knife clean, than keep brushes clean.

The use of color in a painting is a science. Father made up his own terms for different principles he used.

When our father was a student he scavenged trash cans in art school to retrieve used empty paint tubes that students had thrown away. Some of the tubes he cut open to retrieve excess paint students missed. Other tubes were flatten and closed at both ends then place on a heater to expand the tubes. These tubes were used to put freshly mixed paint inside. If he didn't have canvas or board to paint on my dad would shellac old window shades and paint on them. The artists Charles White also used window shades.

The majority of our father's artworks were oil paintings. Dad mixed paint with a mixing knife and palette knife on a painter’s palette board. The board had a hole punched in it for the artist to place his thumb while painting. Father only used the mixing knife when mixing paints to put in tubes. He closed the ends of tubes with the same knife. (Full Size Window)

New House (on linen
New House (linoleum

Our father painted New House on
linen canvas. See canvas upper left.


"New House" was done in 1947, an oil painting, shown on the above right and left was done on the spot at Pendle Hill, Pennsylvania. The linoleum relief print, shown on the above, lower left, was done from the painting months later, around the Christmas holidays. The block was printed on news print. Next the news print was glued to a hand made construction paper Christmas card then sent to family members and friends, during the Christmas holidays. Each print had my father's signature, title and some times the year the print was made. During the early 1950's I learned how to operate the printing press. You had to be careful not to disturb the registration. If you messed up you got either a double image or smeared image. Any one owning an original linoleum relief print has something of considerable value. (Full Size Window)

Daddy had the best seventy eight African American Heritage record collection ever. Jazz, blues, Sea Island Spirituals, Paul Roberson and Caribbean Calypso were the music favorits of my sister and I. We even made colored candles to give away and we made all of our own Chrismas tree decorations each year. Mother produced the best homemade root beer and played the piano for the occasion.

The rear or back portion of NEW HOUSE received two records that year. A smaller version of the painting was completed in a 4 x 5 ¾ linoleum relief print that fall. Both the linoleum relief print and oil painting on canvas can be seen illustrated above. The above image was a back view of that building. It was done on linen canvas and measures 20 inches by 16 inches. Father did at least two paintings of the front New House on board, one completed that same year and the other one done later. (Full Size Window)

My father hand painted the print shown above. He used transparent water color. Very few prints were painted. Most of the linoleum prints were printed using a single color like the ones illustrated below. A hand painted print is extremely rare and would cost a little more than the ones shown in single colors.

Beached (lino print)

Beached - 1952
(oil painting)

Under The Bridge
(lino print)

Under The Bridge
(oil painting)


Above are two exhamples of linoleum relief prints and their oil painting matches. Each linoleum block print was done after an oil painting was created, never the other way around. The frist print, in the examples above, is backwards. That is because our father did not reverse the drawing before appling its image to linoleum. Relief printing always leaves a reversed image. If you want an accurate image you have to reverse the image before appling it to linoleum.

Occasionally a print was done without an oil painting during the years in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and early years at Talladega College, Talladega Alabama. Each linoleum print was done around Chrismas time and designed for home made Christmas card use. Most prints had oil painting matches done the same year as the print. The cards served to advertise paintings amoung family, friends, schools and museum personel. CLAUDE CLARK POSTER PRINTS

We have linoleum, hand signed, prints left. Each print was produced during the year each matching painting was created. These original prints are the only works by my father that can be purchased for under a thousand dollars a piece. All of them are less than $900.00 (U.S. dollars) each. Each print is about 4 x 5 ¾ inches in size. Each print comes framed with mat and glass. The last linoleum print was produced in the early 1960's. Father's paintings can be bought through art dealers in California or East Coast. (Clark Family Database)


Etching a copper plate
Hands on book cover

Dox Thash (holding print) and Claude Clark (at table) in 1941


Our father worked as a print maker on the WPA Federal Arts Project from 1939 to December 7th, 1941 the eve of Perral Harbor bombing. You will find more information in a book titled - "Dox Thash" 'An African-American Master Printmaker Redicovered'. You will find this book listed in the book section of this Clark art section. CLAUDE CLARK POSTER PRINTS

Our dad had a fascination with photography. He bought himself a 39 cents camera in 1935 to make snapshots of interest. Father learned from his brothers John and Perry what the medium could do for him. When the two brothers became professional photographers, they made pictures of my father's paintings so that he could use them in connection with press coverage for himself. Between the years 1939 and 1941 he was early to work and made himself available for guided tours and printing demonstrations, so that visitors could get a since of history and see how the various printing processes worked. The tours and demonstrations served another purpose as well: My father was in front of a camera often. (Clark Family Database)

Dox Thrash invented the Carborgraph print and printing process. My father specialized in carborgraph etchings. This first group of prints, (shown below) were done between 1939 and 1941. The carborgraph was a intaglio print similar to a mezzotint. Instead of using a rocker for creating a rough surface artists used a levegator with carborundum graphite to rough up a copper plate. Then they pressed down some of the burr filings to creat light areas. The burrs left sticking up would be the dark areas. My father also did lithograph prints. Lithography is a planographic printing process. Boogie Woogie and In The Groove are the names of two lithograph prints.

Old Stock Exchange
(line etching)
Drill Press
(carborgraph etching with color)

Old Swedes Church

If you are a print collector, You have probably wanted to know what each type of print looks like and is it authentic. In this section we will tell you what to look for. Hopefuly our information will help you identify printing methods accurately.

Share Croppers (woodcut)

Evening Meal (aquatint)

Dad contributed the carborgraph process by introducing the carborgraph etching process between 1939 an 1940. He roughed up the surface of the copper plate with a levegator then used a stop out process to protect the burrs from asid. The burrs protected from asid would remain sticking up. Thus the remaining burrs would fill with ink creating dark areas and the areas eatten by asid would be white.

House on a Hill
(carborgraph etching)

House on a Hill
(carborgraph etching)
(color carborgraph)

(color carborgraph etching)

The etchings, shown above, were done between 1939 and 1940. Notice the difference between these etchings and the ones done about 1957, shown below. The later carborgraph etchings had a cubist appearance as opposed to his earlier flatter prints. Cubism provided more depth. Our dad would bring the background close to the foreground. He didn't use deep prospective. Mountains and other very large objects tended to be closer and larger. That is because he saw things that way. If you were looking for a parking space ahead of you our father could see which cars overlapped, but he wouldn't be able to see the space between the cars unless shadows revealed gaps.

Dad didn't have any problems with using color, in the early years he occasionally had problems with greens.

Boats (carborgraph etching)

Boats (color carborgraph etching)


Dad's last fine art prints were done in Sacramento California, while he was a student at Sacramento State College during the 1950's. He was showing the art faculty early printing methods from the Federal Arts period. Many teachers, at Sacramento State College did not know the old European methods for producing etchings and lithographs. Dad spent over two years learning the ancient printing methods on the WPA (1939-1941). He was allowed to teach art classes at Sacramento State College before recieving his BA degree in art. He received his teacher's credential an MA at University of California in 1962. I followed our father exactly ten years later with the same degrees and credentials. CLAUDE CLARK POSTER PRINTS

This black and white photograph portrait of my father was produced by my uncle John Henry Clark in 1941. He was my father's older brother. My uncle was a fine artist portrait photographer. He trained himself, but sense he was not able to make money doing fine art photography, he quit.

Claude Clark
(Photo by John Clark)

Romance of Rubber
(Book Illustration)


Daddy studied art at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. His art school was not a fine arts school. His school was a commercial art school. Daddy taught himself how to paint. At art school he was trained to be a book illustrator. On the WPA Federal Arts Project he was trained to be a printmaker and in the Barnes Foundation he took art theory classes, experienced European and African fine art for four years while improving is pallet and use of color. It was while at Barnes our father really taught himself the use of color. Art school had given him the art tools to work with, but it was Albert Barns and John Dewey who were instrumental in demonstrating the importance of applying theory to practice. CLAUDE CLARK POSTER PRINTS

Romance of Rubber
(book illustration)

Romance of Rubber
(book illustration)

Romance of Rubber
(book illustration credits)

In 1941 a few months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor a book titled Romance of Rubber was published. Our father was main illustrator for this publication. (Clark Family Database)

It was interesting that father trained as a book illustrator in art school and this was the only book published where his pen and ink drawings dominate the publication. Dad's work as a book Illustrator was a very short career. He worked on two government publications that year.

Sponge Fisherman
(graphite on newsprint)

Fisherman & Thumbnail Studies
(graphite on newsprint)


These drawings are preliminary sketches for oil paintings. My father never did finished drawings as fine art. The drawings above were produced in 1944. An oil painting of Sponge Fisherman done the same year became appart of the Dr. Bill and Camille Cosby Collection during the 1980's. You will find a photograph of the painting and information about my father's art in the following book titled: "The Other Side of Color:" 'AfricanAmerican Art in the Collections of Camille O. and William H. Cosby Jr.'

This is a brush and wash drawing of a stuffed duck at a taxidermist shop. Down the street from where we lived in North Oakland, California.

During the summer of 1958, we moved from Sacramento to Oakland, California. We lived down the street from White Horse Inn located on the corner of Telegraph Avenue and 66th Street, which served as a one-mile prohibition demarcation point for students who were attending University Of California at Berkeley. In those days if Cal students wanted an alcoholic drink, they had to travel a radius of one mile, or more from the university campus to get it.

Directly across Telegraph Avenue from the White Horse Inn was a taxidermist shop where several men earned a living stuffing animals for local trophy enthusiast, who hunted and fished for sport.

"Ducks", a linoleum relief print was produced in the fall of 1959, after the painting of Ducks which was painted during the summer of same year. The block print was different from the painting Ducks, usually they looked the same. The block was printed on news print sent to family members and friends, during the Christmas holidays. Each print had the artist's signature, title and some times the year the print was made. These prints were not numbered additions. Any one owning an original has something of considerable value.

Boats (detail of drawing done in graphite for a carborgraph print)

Most of my father's drawings were done in graphite, or felt pen and ink. The technique father used for brush and ink was the same one used for watercolor. Instead of doing a color watercolor he did a black and white-watercolor. He didn't sign the black and white-watercolors. He only signed the colored watercolors. When you see a signature on any of his drawings. It is my signature and not his, unless I tell you otherwise.

Drawing Class at Merrit Community College in Oakland
(Picture taken between 1968 & 1971)


My father set up the first art department at Talladega College, Talladega, Alabama. We were there for seven years, from 1948 to 1955. A young man by the name of David C. Driskell replaced my father in 1955 when we left for Los Angeles and Sacramento California. David Driskell begain his professional career at Talladega College. He had to teach all of the subjects my father put in place, plus some of his own courses. The sign over the door to the classroom read, "Think much, read more and speak less".

Talladega College Students Painting "a garage"
(oil paintings on boards)

Robert Cole at Talladega
(top student in ceramic sculpture)

(An African Art Renascence at Talladega College, Talladega Alabama)

Between 1948 and 1950 Talladega Colege experience a renascence in art, partly due to my father. I was fortunate to be born to an art and culture with a particular family political point of view. It had its disadvantages, but I am only going to discuss the advantages. The first advantage that worked in my favor was our father wouldn't teach me any art. Second he was always around, so I could see what he did. Third access to my early artwork was kept away from the general public. Fourth I was encouraged to participate in adult museum exhibits while in high school.

As a result of the sheltered seclusion, I remain a recluse to this today, appearing briefly to sell and/or show new work. I don't find it difficult to work, because there is a lack of distractions resulting from social intrusions.

The art department at Talladega College was built around ceramics. My father took time out, one summer, to study glaze calculation at Alberts University.

I was a very judgmental, subtle, quiet, conceited college brat by age seven. I had an opinion about everything. My direction and vision in art had its infancy at Talladega College. My careful examination of African sculpture and observation of Talladega student artwork was very acute. I was extremely critical of what I observed, but careful to keep my trap shut. Little did I understand then that history was in the making and that I would play a major role in an art evolution. If it wasn't for their efforts I might not be the success that I am today. I vowed that when I got bigger that I would produce African sculpture far superior to anything they were able to imagine.

I saw my father as our father, an artist and organization. I just assumed that anything that dealt with art in Talladega that my father must have had something to do with it. There was one exception, the painted mural and ship in Savery Library (Note: see up coming book on art for information about art in Savery). I knew my father wasn't responsible for the murals.

There was a sharp difference in contrast between community where I went to school and the college campus where I lived (check updates for book coming soon). A few teachers in the community had taken classes from my father, but the far majority were Talladega College students.

Uncles John and Perry were profesional photographers. Our father learned much from them about light and shadow. Photo credits - Claude Clark

Alice Moore (top student in art 1954)

John Nash was the Youngests of My Father's Art Students

I became big at age 14 and in one year equaled their level of success and by the second year I had surpassed all of their efforts and expectations. I began exhibiting in fine art shows when I was 16 years old and I hadn't entered an art college yet. I taught my self everything I learned and produced my first two metal cast while still in high school at age 18. The first one I cast myself with the assistance of a high school student teacher. It was done with gunmetal scraps from old cars and the second piece was cast by a profesional caster named Donald Haskins at Garbanzo in Berkeley California. I was the youngest sculptor to submit work there.

Traveling One Man Exhibits (oil paintings on boards)


For seven years our family lived on a college campus which was literally located in the sticks. If you wanted to find the place, after locating our county on the map, you had better hire a team of professional trackers and guide dogs to find the campus. Our college campus was so tiny and so remote you had to sneak up on it so you wouldn't miss it. And if you found the administration building you could literally open the front door and drop out the back.

If you wanted to hide from your ex-wife, lose your mother-in-law, or throw something away, then all you had to do was to make sure they landed in Talladega.

Our mail was delivered to the campus by carrier pigeons, because the roads leading to Talladega weren't fit to travel on. We were among the very fortunate to receive United States mail while living in Talladega. The postmaster general, during the Eisenhower administration, had a younger brother, niece and nephew at Talladega College, so you know he wasn't going to let his brother's family go without mail. The younger brother later got a job through the U.S. State Department as an ambassador to Guinea. I don't know how Talladega College fared after that.

The nearest urban area happen to have the misfortune of bearing the same name, "Talladega". People said it was a town. I remeber going east on Battle Street, passing through the campus gates and dropping on a pavement below. I guess that is why they called it down town. The two main stores were an A&P and another place they called Piggly Wigglies.

If you were an artist you certainly wouldn't become well known anywhere else living in Talladega and if you hadn't lived anywhere else accept in Talladega you would need a search party to find your way out of there. If you were agreat artist and died there, you would have to wait until some archaeologist dug up your remains and artifacts in order to be discovered.

My father had conections elsewhere. He was always sending artwork somewhere. He took his students on trips to musuems in New England states during the summers.

In 1954 my mother and father organized two travel exhibits. One would travel trough the Southern States for a year and the other exhibit was due to travel in Northern States for one year. The Civil Rights Movement began 1950 in North Carolina. College students from the North and South were in full swing trying to integrate things down here by 1954. After we left Alabama, early summer of 1955 the Civil Rights Movement received its first national leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Attorney Shores, a friend of the family, in Birmingham Alabama had taken on a very difficult court case. A Caucasian policeman was accidentally killed by and African American motorist. Shores was able to win the case. If there had not been a Civilrights movement in full swing by the early 1950's bringing a lot press coverage to the South, Shore probably would not have won the court case.

"The Cradle Of Liberty" (lithograph print)


Dad sometimes refered to himself as an art reporter. He recorded nature, conditions of the common man and culture heritage. Many monuments, park scenes and historic buildings were recorded in Clark's art during his Philadelphia years. In 1947, during his stay at Pendle Hill he made a record of many buildings in the Quaker community. Between 1948 and 1955 Clark recorded every major building on the Talladega College campus at least once and a few were recorded twice.

It is ironic that the title of Indepence Hall is "The Cradle Of Liberty" which is everything but that if you take into account the plight of Native Americans, African slaves and Japanese "American" internment during World War II.

"The Creative Source" and Daddy (This was his last work)


Daddy was the storyteller in our immediate family. His people were storytellers from way back. The character of these particular stories had alot to do with the merging of two very different families; Streets and Clarks. The "Street Family" on my dad's paternal grandmother's side were hell raisers and the Clarks produced an African maroon and tons of traumatic experiences. The combination hell raising and trauma resulted in the first set of stories "Tall Tales Of Tell County Georgia".

The Graham Clarks told Tales of Manyunk and Street Clarks told Tall Tales from "Tell" County (Terrell County Georgia). George Clark the maroon, told "Maroon Tales".

Daddy told stories like "Crab Man", "Rat In The Ritz Box", "It Went Thump In The Night", "Liver Lips", "Slept Four To A Bed", "Poor Thang Ate Chicken Dookie" and "Daddy Fell From The High Chair Into A Fire Place".

The stories other family members told didn't come any better. They only got worse. My dad's stories put you under the table and them others would land you in a hospital, or cemetery.

Some of dad's stories had an influence on the type of paintings he chose to paint and some of his paintings influenced stories he would tell.

Quit often before begining a painting daddy would ask local residence about the history or name of something he intended to paint. One day dad was painting a picture of a house in Philadelphia. He asked local children playing near by about the owner of the house and they told him that the house belong to "Papa Do". While painting dad decided to remove a small stick figure from the painting. The same children playing near by had been observing the development of daddy's picture; though daddy wasn't aware of it at first. One of them picked up a fist full of sand and said, "Put that man back in the picture. I said put that man back in the picture or I am going to let you have it." Daddy couldn't picture himself picking sand grain by grain from his canvas, so he did as he was told. Later he thought to himself, the figure in the painting must be "Papa Do".

Near the end of my father's life a friend of the family was reminising about the higher prices on daddy's paintings and wanted to know why they were selling so well at those higher prices. Daddy replied, "....Well you Know I have the best art dealer in town. My art dealer is so good she can sell bed bugs off of roaches......"

Papa Do's House
(oil on board)

(Told and edited by Claude Lockhart Clark in © 1998)

Papa Do's House is alive and well, thanks to a concerned citizen. Two weeks a go (about Friday August 21st, 1998) I received a phone call from a stranger in San Francisco. He asked if I was "Claude Clark" and I said , "Speaking" . He said that he had found this painting in a trash dumpster. Then he asked if I was an artist and I replied "yes". He then asked if I was a painter, to which I replied, "I can". He then said that he had a painting of mine title: "PAP DO’s HOUSE" and I replied that "....the painting wasn’t mine, but that it belonged to another guy by the same name... You want that other Claude Clark". Then he wanted to know if I knew how he might get in touch with the other Claude Clark and were we related? And I said, "Yes he is my father. There are two of us". He wanted to know if he was still alive and I told him "yes".

I asked how did he find use and he said, "over the Internet". He said that in 1996 he tried to find the name Claude Clark but couldn't. He said that he tried again two years later and found the name Claude Clark all over the place, to which I replied, "That is because we didn't go on line until 1997".

"Does he live in California?" "Yes, He lives in the East Bay."

The stranger told me that he had move in to an appartment about two years ago, in the San Francisco. He was cleaning the appartment before moving in and found that someone had left a painting inside a trash dumpster in the garrage area. The concerned citizen took the painting out of the trash and placed it on top of the dumpster, and left it there for several days, hoping that the owner would pass the appartment complex and reclaim the painting. When no one did; the citizen took the painting upstairs to his own appartment and hung it on the wall.

While the young man talked another painting came to my mind done during the same period. He asked for price estimate based on size, condition and type of subject. I gave the him an estimate based on a picture of lesser quality, though I didn't tell him what I was doing. I remembered the title "Papa Do's House", because the name had come up in conversations over the years. Mother and I came to California in 1947 with some of daddy's paintings. "Papa Do's House was among the paintings. The paintings were put on exhibit in a Los Angeles Beverly Hills art gallery. Screen actor Cary Grant bought "Papa Do's House".

When I gave the concerned citizen the price of the painting he immediately removed it from his apartment wall and took it to a more secure place that a friend owned. The last time I talked to him on the phone he was still visiting his painting on weekends. I forgot to ask him how much he was paying the friend for the of lease his wall space.





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