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Clarence Van Duzer

(1920 - 2009)
Stylistically eclectic throughout his career, Clarence Van Duzer - often simply known as “Van” - initially arrived in Cleveland at age six after briefly living in St. Louis and Pittsburgh.

As a student at Cranbrook Academy in Michigan in the early 1940s, he honed his craft painting landscapes. During World War II, he worked at Cleveland Fisher Aircraft , engineering B-29s during his nightshifts.

After finishing a bachelor of science degree in 1945 at what is now known as Case Western Reserve University, Van Duzer completed a master of fine arts degree at Yale University, and won the bronze medal in the Prix De Rome competition in 1947.

After Yale, in the 1950s, he produced Christian religious scenes that combined spiky, semi-abstract figures of Christ and saints with passages of gold leaf. He also produced works in this period influenced by 20th-century Mexican muralists such as Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, but with the fine details and jewel like color of early Italian Renaissance religious paintings.

Still later came abstractions influenced by Abstract Expressionists such as Jackson Pollock and an Op Art phase of geometric abstractions.

Van Duzer also created the spiky stainless steel “Global Flight” sculpture at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in 1976.

He taught for 33 years at the Cleveland Institute of Art between 1947 and 1989, with stints at the Flint Institute of Art in Flint, Mich., and the University of Denver.

He passed away in Cleveland in 2009.

His works are held at the Denver Museum of Art; the Butler Institute of American Art; the Detroit Institute of Art; the Philbrook Art Center; the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts; Utah State Agricultural College; the Cedar City Art Commission; the Orlando Museum of Art; the Flint Institute of Art, Flint, Michigan; and the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, among others.

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