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 Clement Bernard Haupers  (1900 - 1982)

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Lived/Active: Minnesota      Known for: etching, sculpture, teaching

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Ad Code: 3
Clement Bernard Haupers
from Auction House Records.
Spring Rain
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Clement Haupers was LeRoy Neiman's first art teacher. His career spanned six decades. He worked persistently to better the lot of fellow artists.  Haupers was born March 1, 1900 in St. Paul, Minnesota, and by the time he was an adolescent, he knew that he wanted to be an artist.

Haupers and companion, Clara Mairs, departed to Paris to study with Cubist* painter Andre L'hote in 1923.  L'hote (1885-1962) was a skilled teacher who attracted students from all over the world.  He did not attempt to impose his own Cubist style on his students. Rather, his teaching stressed the analysis of form and composition. The strong, balanced compositions Haupers produced throughout his career reflect the training he received from L'hote.

While living in Paris, Haupers also studied sculpture under Emile-Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1930). In the evenings Haupers went to either the Academie Ranson* or the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere* where he practiced drawing from models. Haupers and Mairs traveled to Algiers during the winter of 1924-25, and some of his art was drawn there.

Haupers and Mairs left Paris in 1925 to return to the United States.  They considered settling in New York, the center of American artistic activity.  But they were finally drawn to Minnesota, in part because of family ties and also because they enjoyed Mairs' cabin in Cloverton - a place where they could sketch and paint outdoors.

Haupers and Mairs went to Paris again in 1928, this time to study etching with a print maker named Gorvel. Haupers' many etchings of Paris street scenes document that year abroad.

Clement Haupers died in 1982. One publication about him is titled Clement Haupers, Six Decades of Art in Minnesota.

Information from: Rebecca Sonnick, West St. Paul, MN

* For references for these terms and others, see AskART Glossary

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Clement Haupers, painter, teacher and graphic artist, was a prolific artist and "energetic administrator who played a leading role in the development of arts organizations in Minnesota." (36).

He grew up in a working class household, and as a young man worked for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, which earned him a travel pass he frequently used for visits to Chicago and its Art Institute.  He lived at his family's home in St. Paul, and when financially able, enrolled in the Minneapolis School of Art. He also joined the Art League of St. Paul, and there became associated with Clara Mairs, one of the League's founders.

Haupers and Mairs became life-long companions. They shared their talents, commitment to modernist art and family ties to St. Paul, Minnesota. Mairs was twenty-two years older than Hauper, and tall and alternately bohemian and quite dignified, bohemian; she was a contrast to Haupers who "was  stocky---a former wrestler---and . . . famously direct and salty." (39) Mairs and Haupers very close emotionally, but the nature of their relationship seemed curious to outsiders because of the couple's age difference and Hauper's bisexuality. Mair's family disapproved of the relationship, and she and Hauper never married.

In the 1920s, they worked together on decorative arts such as batiks, wall hangings, draperies and decorative screens, and marketed these items in the Twin Cities through the Handicraft Guild and Mabel Ulrich's book and print shop in St. Paul. In November 1930, the St. Paul Public Library exhibited paintings, screens and wall hangings by Mairs, Laupers and Elsa Jemne, a St. Paul artist.

Encouraged by fellow artist John Eric Smith, they spent time in France, settling into a cold-water flat in Paris, and enrolling in several ateliers including Academie Colarossi as students of Antoine Bourdelle and Academie Montparnasse, where, taking the advice of Smith, they studied with Andre L'Hote. 

Haupers and Mairs returned to Minnesota in 1925, having also traveled in Italy and Algiers, North Africa. They established studios in St. Paul, and spent much time at her cabin on the Kettle River in Pine County. In 1928, they returned to Paris, this time to study etching, especially soft-ground etching and aquatint.  They studied with George Gorvel, who had been an engraver of bank notes for the Bank of England. Mairs did circus image etchings that were well received when Haupers and Mairs returned to Minnesota.

The couple promoted their printmaking through Kennedy & Company of New York, and with Minnesota artist Wanda Gag, had their work exhibited at the Company's 1929 print exhibition in New York City. In 1930, Mairs' and Haupers' prints were part of an exhibit by the Brooklyn Society of Etchers, and Haupers received special commendation in a New York Times review.

He also served as the couple's marketing manager, continuing to promote their work in the East and in California in 1938 through a friend, Freda Klapp who was Director of the Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego.  In addition Haupers did the printing of etchings and said, in retrospect that he had printed eighty-five plates by Mairs.

In 1929, Haupers and Mairs had his family home moved to St. Paul's Ramsey Hill district, immediately behind Summit Avenue, and set it up as a studio-house. The area was popular with artists and writers and was described in the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper as a "little Midwest Bohemia." (55).

In the 1930s, Clement Haupers became the "leading figure" in the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Holger Cahill appointed him Director of The Minnesota Federal Art Project. Subsequently Haupers went to Washington DC to serve as assistant to Holger Cahill, National Director of the Federal Art Project. Haupers was in Washington DC from January to June in 1943 and then returned to St. Paul by June of that month and resumed life with Clara Mairs. He also became a teacher at the St. Paul School of Art.

Clement Haupers died in 1982, having outlived Clara Mairs by 19 years and having taken care of her during her final illness and death in May, 1963.

Julie L'Enfant, Pioneer Modernists: Minnesota's First Generation of Women Artists

Suggested References from Julie L'Enfant, Art Historian:

Clement B. Haupers and Clara Gardner Mairs Papers.  Minnesota Historical Society.  M526 (4 reels of microfilm) and P1615 (box 5, available in library).

Crump, Robert L.  Minnesota Prints and Printmakers, 1900-1945.  Saint Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society, 2009.

Hancock, Jane H.  Clement Haupers: Six Decades of Art in Minnesota.  Museum Exhibit Series No. 1.  St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1979.

Haupers, Clement.  Conversations on Six Decades of Painting in Minnesota, ed. Nicholas Westbrook.  Minnesota History.  47.7 (Fall 1979): 296-299.

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