Organizations* : AOA, NAWA, SAI
After a childhood in Spain, Clark Hulings studied drawing and anatomy first under Sigmund Ivanowsky and later with Bridgman at the Art Students League in New York. The time he spent in Spain as a child left lasting impressions on his artistic sensibilities, and back in the United States he frequently visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, inspired by the works of the Realist and Impressionist painters exhibited there. However, Hulings left the art world to obtain a degree in physics from Haverford College in Pennsylvania.
Seeking a job with the Manhattan Project, Hulings 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. A year later, he regained his health, working as a physicist in Denver for a time and also painting portraits and doing some illustration work in Louisiana before returning to the East for additional art study. Hulings 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 moved back to New Mexico where the sunlight provided daily inspiration.
A top-ranked artist whose realistic paintings reflect his worldwide travels, Hulings developed a great interest in rustic settings and primitive lifestyles. While the West has clearly influenced his work, the scope of his interests has grown wider as his talent continues to develop. It is therefore difficult to confine Hulings within the boundaries of what is commonly understood to be Western art. In general, 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 furnish him with an ample supply of subjects.
Despite his varied subject matter, Hulings has been a dominant presence in contemporary Western art since the 1970’s, although 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.
Reference: The American West: Legendary Artists of the Frontier, edited by Dr. Rick Stewart, AskArt.com