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C.S. Price (1874-1950)
Biography from AskART:
A leading-edge modernist painter on the West Coast during the last 30 years of his life, Clayton Price was a homesteader and cowhand of the American West during the first 30 years.
He was born in Bedford, Iowa, to a farm family of twelve children. The family moved to Wyoming and then to Canada, always looking for better land. He became an accomplished carpenter and expert horseman, and at age 21, staked his own homesteading claim in Wyoming where he built his own cabin. But not wanting to be tied down, he gave the claim to his family and became a roving cowhand. Encouraged by his mother, he also sketched, especially animals.
In 1905, at age 32, he went to St. Louis and enrolled at the St. Louis School of the Fine Arts, his only formal training. He found it frustrating because of the emphasis on conveying realistic images, but the technical information was valuable. He met and received encouragement from Charlie Russell, the famous western painter and spent much time in the museums and libraries of St. Louis.
Following this period, he returned to his family briefly, worked as a magazine illustrator for "Pacific Monthly," and did a variety of odd job. In 1915, when he was 41, he knew that for him, realistic style led nowhere, and he almost gave up painting. However, seeing abstract work that year at the Panama Pacific Exposition and beginning a friendship with European expressionist Gottardo Piazzoni changed his life.
In 1920, Price moved to Monterey, California, and settled down to paint full time while supporting himself as a frame maker and sardine packer. He became much influenced by the style of Cezanne and the realization that form is experience not shape and that space in a painting is flat and doesn't have to convey depth. He also became committed to color as emotional expression.
In 1929, Price moved to Portland, Oregon, his last move, and he lived there until he died in 1950. The move was motivated by his desire to live quietly and freely from the distractions of the busy Monterey area. He lived with few possessions and painted primarily from memory.
Although he did not seek recognition, it came in the 1940s when the Portland Art Museum gave him a one-man show in 1942, and in 1945 and 1946, when he was in major exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He also had one-person shows in New York galleries, and museums around the country began to acquire his work. In the 1940s, his work also became much more personal and meditative with religious undertones.
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