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 John McClusky  (1914 - 1994)

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Lived/Active: Connecticut/Texas      Known for: Realist portrait, landscape, old barn, Texas and New England countryside painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
John McClusky (b.1914-d.1994)

Born in East Haven, Connecticut he lived most of his life near New Haven, Connecticut.  He grew up on a farm, and attended the experimental Ohlms School of Fine Art in New Haven, Connecticut, which was affiliated with Yale University.  This school used methods from the Renaissance period in European history, involving all mediums.  Here he learned the essential tools and techniques an artist must have in order to paint.

Later, Mr. McClusky studied philosophy and commercial art at Colgate University.  While still living in Connecticut, John studied to become an ordained minister in the Church of God and served as a minister in a church in Connecticut for seven years.  He then began his full-time career as a commercial artist, going into a business partnership with another artist friend of his.  He was involved with the New Haven Historical Society helping to preserve its artistic heritage.

By the time Mr. McClusky was in his mid forties, he was a well established artist.  He belonged to the Hasty Pudding Club, an enduring theatrical organization associated with Harvard University.  His work is still in the Markes collection, the Forbes Magazine collection, the Vann collection, the Koch collection, the Pioneer Memorial Library in Fredericksburg and several museums in New England.  His early work is very realistic, not of the modernist style, but rather going back to the great painters of the Renaissance.  

John McClusky was a well established artist by the time he and his family moved to Fredericksburg in August of 1970.  The family traveled over 4,700 before deciding where to live. 

Once he had his professional base established, Mr. McClusky decided to invest his time, talent and energy in art education in Fredericksburg.  He noted that there were great many singing societies, bands, and performing groups in Fredericksburg, but very little in the visual arts.  He wanted to change that…to establish an arts organization that would support artists and their work, serving as an umbrella for all arts organizations, performing, visual, and music related.

Mr. McClusky was attracted by the unique character and heritage of this community, and he especially loved the architectural integrity of structures built by the German settlers and their ancestors. He wanted to preserve those unique buildings and landscapes in his paintings, so that there would be an historical record.

McClusky founded the Fredericksburg Art Guild and taught art classes for many years.  When he became ill with cancer, he still pressed on until he succumbed to the disease and died in March 1994.

Sources include:
fredericksburgartguild.org/McClusky.html
rwnaf.org

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