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 Clara D. (Simpson) Davidson  (1874 - 1962)

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Lived/Active: Connecticut/Missouri      Known for: female figure painting, commercial art

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Clara Port is primarily known as Clara D. (Simpson) Davidson

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Ad Code: 3
Clara D. (Mrs. Chax. Simpson) Davidson
from Auction House Records.
THE PINK CAMELLIAS
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from Ronny Cohen Art:
Born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1874, Clara D. Davidson was 15 and living with her family in Brooklyn when she enrolled at Cooper Union’s Woman’s Art School in New York. From 1889 to 1893 classes taken by her in drawing from elementary casts, the antique, life and pen and ink illustration at the Woman’s Art School provided a foundation for her absorbing style of rendering. She attended the Art Students League and studied with Arthur Wesley Dow in New York before embarking on a four-year stint of study and travel in Europe.

In Paris she maintained an atelier that was visited by many Americans. During the years she spent abroad she studied with Alphonse Mucha and Jacques-Emil Blanche. The drawings she did of models at Mucha’s Paris studio are revealing of how, for Davidson, the figure is both equally a source of formal study and a subject of human interest. Her images of women, men, girls and boys represent the open, independent, and highly personal eye that she cast on reality.

In the 1890s and early 1900s, a period marking a definite high point for figurative drawing, Clara D. Davidson was singled out by her contemporaries in the numerous exhibitions in which she participated for her drawing and painting skills. From the early 1900s through 1930s the artist exhibited regularly. She participated in shows at key institutions. These included major annuals held at The National Academy of Design, Pennsylvania Academy, Philadelphia Art Club, Philadelphia Water Color Club, Chicago Art Institute, Society of American Artists, The MacDowell Club of New York, The Rockford Art Association, The National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors, The Wadsworth Atheneum, and Silvermine.

A most talented painter and gifted illustrator, Davidson had a studio in midtown Manhattan in the early 1900s. The Saturday Evening Post, Town & Country and Success magazine were some of the periodicals in which she published. Patty’s Summer Days, 1906, and Patty in Paris, 1907, two of the popular Patty Fairfield books by Carolyn Wells were illustrated by her. The Evening Post, The Globe, and New York Times were among the publications giving favorable notices to Davidson, who showed alongside of artists like Henry Ward Ranger, Edward Dufner, Zulma Steele, Jane Peterson and Harriet W. Frishmuth. In 1906 Davidson married Charles S. Simpson, and in 1910 had a son. In 1917 the family moved to Norwalk, Connecticut.

She passed away in Norwalk in 1962.

Davidson's talents are being discovered by a new generation. Along with prominent private collectors, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has acquired a major work on paper by the artist, and the Ahphonse Mucha foundation has acquired a drawing of Mucha by Davidson.

Submitted by Ronny Cohen, Ph.D.
Sources are independent research of primary newspaper, magazine sources

Biography from Charleston Renaissance Gallery:
CLARA DAVIDSON (1874-1962)

As both a commercial and fine artist, Clara Davidson is most noted for her feminine figural works. Working as an illustrator for leading magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and Town and Country as well as books for young girls, Davidson created portraits and genre scenes that appealed to a female readership. Her studio works reflected this same bent, whether in portraits, floral still lifes, or romantic landscapes.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Davidson received advanced instruction in this country and abroad. In New York, she studied with Arthur Wesley Dow at the Art Students League and at the Cooper Union Art School. While abroad in Paris, she was tutored by the eminent Art Nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha and by J. Emile Blanche, both of whom strongly influenced her work.

Davidson exhibited at leading venues in the first half of the twentieth century, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Art Institute of Chicago, Philadelphia Art Club, Wadsworth Athenaeum, Society of Independent Artists, and National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. She was a member of the Silvermine artists’ colony in Norwalk, Connecticut, where she died in 1962.

Davidson was included in the 2001 Boston Museum of Fine Arts exhibition, A Studio of Her Own: Women Artists in Boston, 1870-1940.  Her work is in the collection of the Brandywine River Museum.

This essay is copyrighted by the Charleston Renaissance Gallery and may not be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from Hicklin Galleries, LLC.


Biography from Roger King Fine Art, A - G:
Clara Davidson was an illustrator for leading periodicals and designed covers for magazines such as Town and Country and The Saturday Evening Post.

She was born in St. Louis, Missouri and studied with Arthur Wesley Dow; and at the Art Students' League and Cooper Union Women's Art School in New York.  She also studied with renowned Art Nouveau-era painter Alphone Mucha, and with J. Emil Blanche in Paris.

She exhibited with the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors and at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Art Club, the Wadsworth Athenaeum, the Society of Independent Artists, and the Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, Connecticut.  She is known for portrait and figural paintings, though she also painted still life, landscape, and genre scenes.

Her work is in the collections of the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford and the Rockford, Illinois Art Museum.

Roger King Fine Art

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