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 Clark Hulings  (1922 - 2011)      Visit this Artist's Studio on AskART

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Lived/Active: New Mexico/New York/Florida / Spain/Romania/Mexico      Known for: town-landscape, genre and still life painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An artist whose realistic paintings reflect his world-wide travels, Clark Hulings spent much time as a child in Spain and Louisiana and from these experiences developed a great interest in rustic settings and primitive lifestyles.

Many of his works reflect old trees and old buildings, and throughout his career, he has frequently returned to Spain and Louisiana for subject matter.  But he has made his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico where, with the help of Hispanic craftsman, he has built an adobe home. 

He was raised in a suburb of New York, trained at the Art Students League, and was inspired at the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Realist and Impressionist painters. He became an illustrator, but the pull of landscape subjects led him to full time fine-art painting.

He has been a dominant presence in contemporary Western art since the 1970s, although most of his work is non-western, and he never paints cowboys.  He took the first-ever Prix de West at the National Academy of Western Art in 1973 and had numerous one-man shows at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City and the Museum of New Mexico.

For many years after this recognition for western art, he quit exhibiting, selling only to a select group of collectors, but in November, 1999, he will have a major exhibition of oil paintings at the Nedra Matteucci Galleries in Santa Fe.

Peggy and Harold Samuels, Contemporary Western Artists

Biography from Morris & Whiteside Galleries:
Born in Florida, November 20, 1922, Clark Hulings was raised in Westfield, N.J. Over his lifetime, he resided in New York, Louisiana, and throughout Europe before settling in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1972.

His art training began as a teenager with Sigismund Ivanowsky and the famed draftsman George Bridgman and continued at The Art Students League with Frank Reilly.  With a degree in physics from Haverford College, Pa., Hulings pursued an initial career as a portraitist in Louisiana, followed by freelance illustration in New York, notably paperback book covers, during the 1950s.

By the early 1960s, Hulings devoted himself to easel paintings.  In 1965 he debuted in New York, N.Y., at The Grand Central Art Galleries.   In 1973 he was the first recipient of the Prix de West Award at the National Academy of Western Art and in 1976 he was the subject of a solo exhibition at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Center, Oklahoma City, Ok., that was documented in the book Hulings—A Collection of Oil Paintings (Lowell Press), followed in 1978 by a retrospective at the Museum of the Southwest, Midland, Texas, and a 1981 exhibition at the C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, Montana.

Most recently, Hulings’ work was the subject of a 2007 one-man exhibition organized by Morris & Whiteside Galleries, Hilton Head, South Carolina, and a feature exhibition presented by Morris & Whiteside Galleries at The Forbes Galleries, New York City in 2011 that included works from his personal collection not previously seen.

As one of the leading American realist painters, Hulings traveled the world looking for rural and urban landscapes and genre scenes that became the subjects of paintings reflecting the vibrancy of the human spirit.  Admired for his genius in manipulating the formal elements, he searched for beauty in places where others might only find misery:  In the world of street people he saw compassion and self-respect.  In urban alleyways he envisioned sunlit corridors of family activity. Among rustic farmers he discovered people whose lives were synchronized with cycles of the seasons and the animals they care for.

Hulings’ ability to see timeless beauty in momentary human gestures and activities won him the appellation “master” on numerous occasions. His celebration of textures as expressed through light, shadow, and atmosphere was explained as “describing air itself.” His modesty in the face of such acclaim was legendary. Throughout his career he maintained a personal profile far lower than his national acclaim.

Hulings’ subject matter was gathered throughout North America and Europe, notably France, Italy, and Spain, where he lived as a child and frequently visited as an adult. Among his signature subjects are complex Mexican and European market scenes that include panoplies of colors, surfaces, and shapes. His affection for donkeys was a trademark, with the animal’s quiet demeanors becoming a metaphor of human patience and perseverance.

In 1986, Hulings authored the book A Gallery of Paintings by Clark Hulings (White Burro Publishing). The book was updated and reissued in soft cover in 2006. His paintings have been included in countless articles and surveys such as The Majesty of the Grand Canyon: 150 Years of Art (Pomegranate Press) and Landscapes of New Mexico: Paintings of the Land of Enchantment (Fresco Fine Art Publishing).

Hulings was the recipient of numerous awards from organizations including The Allied Artists of America, The Salmagundi Club and The Hudson Valley Art Association. In 1973 he received the Prix de West Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, where his painting Grand Canyon, Kaibab Trail is in the permanent collection.   In his adopted state, Hulings was recognized with his first one-man show in 1945 at the New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe. In 1985, the museum installed a Hulings plaque on its artist walk of fame; and in 2004, he received the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.

Clark Hulings died on February 2, 2011.

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, III:
It is difficult to confine some artists within the boundaries of what is commonly understood to be western art. Clark Hulings falls into this category. The West has clearly influenced his work, but he cope of his interests has grown wider as his talent developed.

Hulings spent his early childhood in Spain and that experience left lasting impressions. He attended school in New Jersey and became interested in art through frequent visits to the Metropolitan Museum. As a teenager he too art lessons and upon graduation from high school went on to study at the Art Students League.

In addition to his love of painting, Hulings was also interested in physics and received a degree in that field from Haverford College in Philadelphia. Seeking a job with the Manhattan Project, he moved to New Mexico, but poor health kept him out of the wartime drama of atomic research. The brilliant New Mexico sunshine, however, brought back his early impressions of Spain and he began to paint, holding his first exhibition in Santa Fe in 1945. He worked as a physicist in Denver for a time and also painted portraits in Louisiana before returning to the East for additional art study. He then traveled to Europe to paint and to tour the great art museums, before finally settling down in the New York area for a career in commercial illustration.

After fifteen years as an illustrator Hulings returned to fine art and to New Mexico where the sunlight provided daily inspiration. His paintings deal with common people who work by hand and use animals for transportation and farming. The Mexican and Indian cultures of the Southwest furnished him with an ample supply of subjects.

ReSources include: The American West: Legendary Artists of the Frontier, Dr. Rick Stewart, Hawthorne Publishing Company, 1986

Biography from Nedra Matteucci Galleries:
Clark Hulings' tranquil compositions reflect the talent and experience of one of the nation's most respected painters.  Hulings captures his subject with impeccable technique; his vibrant paintings glow with remarkable light, color and texture. 

As a young child, Hulings lived in Spain.  His experiences in that colorful country continue to influence his work, particularly his choice of subject matter.  Hulings has traveled in Egypt, Morocco and Mexico, as well as throughout Europe.  His preference for painting the rustic and provincial scenes of everyday life is apparent in his beautiful interpretations of the open-air markets, farms and countryside.  Hulings spends several months a year traveling and painting, always finding beauty in the simple parts of people's lives.

Hulings studied with Sigismund Ivanowski and with George Bridgmond at the Art Students League in New York.  During this time he began painting delicate still lifes and found a steady demand for his portraiture.  After a successful career in illustration, Hulings eventually settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

In addition to receiving the coveted Prix de West from The National Academy of Western Art in Oklahoma City in 1973, Hulings has also received three silver and two gold medals from subsequent NAWA competitions.  In 1976 he was given a one-person show at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and was presented with the Hall's Trustees' Gold Medal for his distinguished contribution to art in the U.S.

Source: Nedra Matteucci Galleries, representing Clark Hulings

Biography from Thomas Nygard Gallery:
After a childhood in Spain, Clark Hulings studied drawing and anatomy under Sigismund Ivanowsky and then with Bridgman at the Art Students League in New York.  He left the art world to obtain a degree in physics from Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

Ill health required that he move to the dryer climate in the West, so he relocated to Santa Fe where the strong local art community inspired him to return to his painting.  In 1946 he had regained his health and moved to Louisiana where he became known for his portraiture.  He also worked there as a freelance illustrator before moving back to Santa Fe in 1957 where he lives today and continues to work on his landscapes, portraits, and illustrations.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Clark Hulings is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Painters of Grand Canyon
Western Painters

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