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William Clapp (1879-1954)

 

William Clapp was born in Montreal, Canada, to American parents in 1879.  At the age of 6, William Clapp moved with his parents to Oakland, California, where he spent his childhood.  In 1900, he returned to Canada for study with William Brymner, and followed that with European study at the Academies Julian, Colarossi, and Grande Chaumiere.  Choosing to return to Canada rather than the U.S., Clapp was well received and eventually elected an Associate Member of the Royal Canadian Art Academy.

 

Clapp exhibited at the National Academy of Design, Carnegie Institute, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before returning to Oakland in 1917, where he took a post as director and curator of the Oakland Art Gallery, a position he would hold from 1918-49.  It was here that Clapp met with a like-minded group of painters that would ultimately become known as “The Society of Six.”  Led by Selden Gile, the “Six” were a group fauvist influenced artists rebelling against the pastoral, tonal, and decorative paradigm in early Bay Area landscape painting.  From 1923-1928, Clapp would curate the exhibitions of the group.

 

A prolific painter whose later works are usually done in Seurat-style pointalism, William Clapp remains popular in both Canada and the United States.



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