About the Artist
(1901 - 1979)Clinton King is generally associated with the regional art of Texas and New Mexico (Santa Fe Art Colony) from 1924 up to 1940; after 1940 and into the 1960s, he exhibited often in Chicago, New York City, and Paris.
King was a painter of genre, portraiture, landscape, and still life. He was also a graphic artist, a teacher, and a talented pianist. His early modernist portraits and genre were often compared to Diego Rivera, a quality recognized in Mexico where King received his first one-man exhibition at the State Museum of Guadalajara in 1932.
Relative to his style of painting, Clinton King would have been very much at home in the Ecole de Paris (School of Paris). He was a modernist, and a Renaissance man of the art world, whose styles included Realism, Impressionism, and Abstract Expressionism at various periods in his 40 years of artistic activity.
Aside from his formal education at Virginia Military Institute, The University of Texas, and Princeton, King’s painting instructors included Charles Webster Hawthorne (Cape Cod School, Provincetown), Robert Reid (Broadmoor Art Academy, Colorado Springs), and Randall Davey (Studio, Santa Fe). His good friends in the art world included Pablo Picasso and the sculptor Ossip Zadkine.
King married two notable women. King met and married his first wife, Lady Duff-Twysden, in the Paris heyday of "the lost generation" (1927); she was socially prominent and already famous as the prototype of the romantic heroine Lady Brett Ashley in Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” (1926). The couple lived in Santa Fe for a year after they married and then moved on to Mexico, Texas, and New York until their divorce around 1939. Kings second wife, Narcissa Swift, whom he met through their mutual friends Georgia O’Keeffe and Mabel Dodge Luhan in Taos in 1941, was heiress to the famous meat packing company. She was a great champion of his work as well as a noted philanthropist and supporter of the 1960s civil rights movement. After Clinton’s death, she lived in Santa Fe until her death at age 87 in 1997.
King gained early recognition in Texas at Annual Texas Artists Exhibitions (Fort Worth, 1924-37). A portrait by King titled "Josefina" hung prominently in the legendary Texas Centennial Exposition (Dallas, 1936). His many solo exhibitions in Texas included: The Witte Museum, San Antonio (1933, 1955); Artists Guild, Fort Worth (1937); Texas Teachers College, Denton (1937); Elisabeth Ney Museum, Austin (1938); Dallas Museum of Fine Arts (1939); Corpus Christi Memorial Museum (1947). King’s exhibitions elsewhere include: Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe (two in 1938, for watercolors and oil paintings); Associated American Artists, Chicago (1948) plus nine other shows at various Chicago galleries from 1941-66; and Feragil, New York City (1949, 1950). Two retrospective exhibitions were held in Santa Fe after his death: at the Armory for the Arts (1985) and at Fogelson Library Center, College of Santa Fe (1986).
During his lifetime, King’s paintings won many prizes, including: Annual Portrait Exhibition Prize (of Santa Fe writer Spud Johnson), at Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe in 1926; Carr Landscape Prize Art Institute, Chicago in 1943; Painting Prize at Petit Palais Museum, Paris in 1950. During his active career, his works were featured in 37 solo shows and 18 group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. His group exhibitions include, at various times: National Academy of Design, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art Annual, Southern States Art League Annual Exhibition, Corcoran Biennial, Carnegie Institute, St. Louis Art Museum, Toledo Art Museum, Rochester Art Museum, Parish Art Museum, and many others.
King’s paintings are held in many public collections, including: Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco; Library of Congress and National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington; Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Baltimore Museum of Art; Smith College; Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe; New York Public Library; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Biblioteque Nationale and Municipal Collection, Paris.