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Clinton O'Callahan

 (1890 - 1943)
Clinton Clement O'Callahan was active/lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts / France.  Clinton OCallahan is known for landscape, marine, nudes, portrait.

Clinton O'Callahan

Biography from the Archives of askART

At the suggestion of the artist's son, Juan O'Callahan, the following is from the website

American Artist in Paris
1890 1943

Taken from Clinton O'Callahan, His Life and His Work: Catalogue Raisonne, by Monica (nee O'Callahan) Lynders, May 1984.

Clinton O'Callahan was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on February 19, 1890, the tenth child of Irish immigrants Jeremiah O'Callahan and Sarah Whalen. Jeremiah was a publican, real estate trader and racehorse owner. Clinton's early interest in art was fostered in classes with Henry C. White, and subsequently under the tutelage of Charles Noel Flagg. A friend and contemporary of Clinton's was Milton Avery, both of whom were encouraged by Clinton's father to pursue careers in fine art.

Clinton continued serious art training in Provincetown under Charles Hawthorne, a prominent American artist who conducted a summer art academy on Cape Cod.

In 1917 Clinton enlisted in the United States Army and was immediately sent to France. He was gassed in January 1918 (World War I) and was subsequently confined to various hospitals in Brittany for half a year. He was discharged in the United States in February 1919, and almost immediately returned to France as a civilian and an American artist. He was 29 years old. He stayed in France, with Paris as his base, until 1939 when he took the last boat home from Lisbon before World War II started.

Clinton O'Callahan became involved in American and European artists' groups (American Association in Paris; Society des Artistes Independents; Society of Connecticut Artists). He studied for four years at the Academie Colarossi under Charles Guerin, and at the Grand Chaumiere. He began exhibiting at the Salon d'Automne in 1921 and continued to do so annually for over a decade; he exhibited at the Salon de Tuileries in 1923, 1924, 1928 and 1929; and at the Salon des Independents every year from 1922 to 1933. In 1923 one of Clinton's major paintings, "At The Bath", was accepted for the Carnegie International Exposition in Pittsburgh and cited by Augustus John as "the most significant picture in the exhibition".

Clinton also had one man and group shows in New York (Babcock Galleries in 1924, 1927, 1929, 1930) and at the Hartford Athenaeum. One of Clinton's paintings, "La Femme Enceinte" sold in New York for $2000 in 1929. Clinton traveled and painted in the south of France, the Balearic Islands, Britain and North Africa.

During the 1920's Clinton O'Callahan was written about extensively in Paris and was projected as the most promising American artist in France. In 1926, Clinton and several American artists founded the "Groupe des Peintres et Sculpteurs Americains a Paris" and first exhibited their collective work at the Galerie Durand-Ruel. They exhibited annually and by 1929, at their exhibition at Galerie M. Knoedler, they had become widely recognized.

In 1932 Clinton married an English nurse, Monica Wray Bliss, who was working at the American Hospital in Paris. He and his wife traveled to Soller, Majorca in the Balearic Islands for a period of painting and rest, and there in July 1933 their son Juan was born.

Relatively few of Clinton O'Callahan's paintings can be accounted for. His son Juan, and Juan and Louise's children, own about 120 paintings and drawings some are unfinished sketches. Clinton's widow Monica may have given away a few dozen paintings to close friends in South Africa when she lived there in the late 1940's and 1950's. Clinton's American relatives and friends in Connecticut and New York may have acquired several dozen work over three decades, and after his death in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1943.

Clinton certainly must have produced between 500 and 800 finished oils and watercolors during his lifetime career, besides sketches and drawings. Clinton's widow Monica felt that a number of paintings that were stored in Paris during the war presumably disappeared. There were a number of large oils of a series of racehorse scenes Clinton did at Longchamps, and of still-lifes and portraits, which the family has seen photos of or news-clip references to, which are unaccounted for.

It is also believed that Clinton sold relatively few of his paintings during his lifetime. There were a few recorded major sales, as noted earlier. Field Marshall Ferdinand Foch acquired three of Clinton's paintings, and other sales involving high prices for the 1920's were recorded in articles and reviews. However, there still remains the mystery as to the whereabouts of perhaps some 300 or 400 Clinton O'Callahan paintings (oils and watercolors).

The family intends to have a retrospective exhibition of Clinton's work in the next few years, perhaps in his hometown Hartford, or in a venue like Williamstown. It will depend, to some extent, on success or failure in tracing additional examples of Clinton's art, and their owners' locations and whether those owners would be willing to loan their pieces for such a retrospective exhibition.

Ted Hendrickson has photographed many of Clinton's' works, some which are listed below. During the past twenty years, Ted Hendrickson's photographs have explored the nature of landscape as image. Ranging from the man made scene of the built environment to the wooded and coastal landscape that comprises what is left of "Nature" in Southern New England, Hendrickson's personal views can be simultaneously poetic, comic, tragic, or mysterious.

Mackerel Boat (Provincetown)
Oil on canvas 27 X 35
Exhibited Hartford Atheneum 1924
(Exhibition "Paintings by Clinton O'Callahan")

Self Portrait
Oil on canvas 21 X 17

Rue Vaugirard (Paris)
Oil on canvas 24 X 20
Exhibited at Salon d'Automne 1921; Babcock Galleries NY 1924; Hartford Atheneum 1924 (articles in Saturday Evening Post 10/4/24;
NY Times 10/5/24; Hartford Courant 10/6/24, 12/8/24)

Houseboat At Pont Marie, II (Paris)
Oil on canvas 25 X 32
Exhibited at Salon d'Automne 1922; Babcock galleries 1924; Hartford Atheneum 1924; Galerie Cambeceres 1959

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

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About  Clinton O'Callahan

Born:  1890 - Hartford, Connecticut
Died:   1943 - Gloucester, Massachusetts
Known for:  landscape, marine, nudes, portrait