Untitled Abstract, 1954 – SOLD
26" x 20"
Framed: 28" x 22"
Painting, oil on canvas
Signed lower right "AH Clark 54"

About the Artist
(1919 - 1979)
Allan Hugh Clarke was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 2, 1919, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Steadman Clarke, Sr. (Nellie E.) and was raised in New Kensington / Brackenridge, Pennsylvania. He was a student at Carnegie Institute of Technology before entering the army in August 1942. During World War II, Clarke was a member of the 453rd unit as a tail gunner on the B-24 liberator, "Jughead". For participation in six bombing missions over enemy Europe, Staff Sgt. Allan Clarke was awarded the Air Medal. He used his off-duty hours to draw and paint the people and activities of the unit.

Resuming his studies at the end of World War II, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Tech in 1947.

Upon graduation, Clarke served as instructor on the arts faculty of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Among the work he exhibited at that time was a watercolor titled "The Cut Glass Bowl" (1948), which Director Carlton V. Earle described as "vibrant with intense mystic quality". Some of his paintings were entered in the Terry National Art Exhibit at Miami, Florida.

Clarke taught at the University of New Hampshire on the fine arts faculty when George Thomas was the head of the art department there. Clarke and Thomas were friends as well as academic colleagues. As a reminder of his time there, the University of New Hampshire has a work by Clarke in its collection, titled "Mid-Summer Still Life" (1949).

Thereafter, he resided in Manhattan and taught at Pratt Institute. Clarke had a one-man show at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan shortly after it opened, in the early 1950s. He also had a one man show at the Feigl Gallery, Manhattan, of his oils and gouaches in September 1950. Artists such as Kokoschka, Rouault, Soutine, Utrillo, Vuillard, and Marc Chagall were also being exhibited at the Feigl Gallery around that time.

In May of 1954, paintings by Andy Warhol and Clarke were displayed at the Loft Gallery, in Manhattan (the two were friends and fellow classmates at Carnegie Tech).

In September of 1956, Clarke's work was part of a group exhibit at the Zabriskie Gallery that also included Pat Adams, Robert Conover, Edmund Casarella, and Lester Johnson. His success in that group show led to a solo show at Zabriskie a few months later. The solo exhibition drew the notice of the "The New York Times" with an article on November 6, 1956, entitled: "Allan Clarke's Abstractions Reflect the City". In a statement accompanying his exhibition at the Zabriskie Gallery, Clarke explained that in his latest abstractions he was trying to find some painterly counterpart to the aesthetic excitement he found in the man-made forms of the city.

Clarke's mid-century modern art might be described as cubistic, or dynamic abstraction, or abstract expressionism. He worked in both oils and watercolors and made all of his own frames for his paintings. He is known to have produced linocuts as well. He is noted for a series of paintings of horses, a series based on the forms of record players, and abstract landscapes.

Clarke died in New York in October of 1979.

biographical material courtesy Modernist West