The Artist and His Legacy
Hulings' work defines a modernist sensibility without departing from the real—without removing all that is recognizable or deluding the audience by escaping into the wholly abstract.
The Modern Realist
Hulings undermined the distraction of class, reminding us that most people don’t move between glamorous towers or drag their knuckles. He showcased the dignity, nobility, and beauty of common people and ordinary things.
One of the Great Discoverers
Hulings insisted the contemporary world could only be fully understood by specific, personal awareness of its inhabitants. Therefore, he was relentlessly devoted to the figure and figurative work. He pursued stunning multinational backdrops replete with the day-to-day realities only visible through the lens of an international nomad.
Challenging an Audience & Status Quo
A relentless experimenter, Hulings exploited modern techniques from the conventions of impressionism and abstract art, bending them with equal ease into the service of an open-ended art of the figure that wouldn’t limit itself to conventional realist boundaries. His compositional "recipes" enabled him to play the sly subversive, literally slipping things under our noses that we might otherwise be too closed to notice.
Advancing the Craft and its Meaning
Clark Hulings assailed our bias toward the “other” by engaging culture through visceral daily reality. An enemy of distraction, he reprimanded modernism’s flight from that challenge and into the purely abstract. He instead produced a continuous documentary of a changing world at the pace of its most common inhabitants.
New Hulings discoveries every week!
Come Here Often?
“The long landscape orientation makes it seem like a “slice” and is reminiscent of the letterbox layout of a movie screen.” Just in case we thought we could pigeonhole Clark Hulings, there’s this: a 1959 illustration that questions the idea that he’s purely a realist. The fact remains that Hulings had the skill to do […]
Hold Your Horses
“Trucks and wagons were everywhere. Heated discussions were going on amidst goats, pigs, cows and sheep.” Trading horses is a serious business. Even the expression “horse trading” is a standard metaphor for negotiations—used especially in business or politics, when each party is angling for something of value. In this piece, we’re seeing negotiations for actual […]
“It’s ironic that Hulings was the illustrator for a book cover that romanticizes what it is to be an artist.” There’s a myth that being an artist involves getting away from it all. An artist’s identity might seem to be a delicious escape, and there’s a fair amount of fantasy in the culture to support […]
Well-Heeled in Morocco
This week, we’re traveling to Morocco in the middle of a work day. The cobbler in his green-and-white striped hat is assessing the repair job. The man behind him is keeping a steady eye on his progress, and is quickly identifiable as the customer when you notice that he has one bare foot.
Count Your Chickens
“Is the barber making a house call on a farm or are there just birds everywhere in this town?” It seems that every part of the world has its own traditions about hair. We take our relationships with our barbers and hairdressers pretty seriously. They’re available to catch up on news and weigh-in on personal […]
Auction Alert: Going Home
“It evokes that Friday-feeling of relief—of finishing work and looking forward to putting your feet up.” It’s hard to believe Easter and Passover are upon us already. It seems as if moments ago we were getting ready for the winter holidays, and everything has been non-stop since then. Especially when things are busy, spring holidays […]
Same Sky, Different Laundry
“I decided to treat my painting as an abstraction which would stand by itself as a good design whether held upside down or sideways. Realism wasn’t important.” Here is a long, tall beauty from 1968. At a mere 8″ across, Street in Naples is a narrow, upward looking, sky scraper-shaped work, and a great example […]
SOLD: Jewish Ghetto Courtyard
Update: This painting had a great sale at the Scottsdale Art Auction! Congratulations to the new owners. “I marvel at the resilience of the Jewish people. Their best characteristic is their desire to remember.” —Elie Wiesel This is a quiet, mid-afternoon Spanish scene. The sun falls across the courtyard with a strong line of shadow […]
Auction Alert: Ringing Bell (Nuestra Señora de la Salud)
“The men strolling by and seated in front of the cathedral show the spectacular architecture as a host to life unfolding as usual.” Clark Hulings loved Mexico, and he painted there throughout his long career. Ringing Bell (Nuestra Señora de la Salud) is set in San Miguel de Allende and was painted in 1965, a […]
SOLD: Aix-en-Provence Flower Market
Update: This beautiful work will now have a new home after a successful sale at the 2019 Scottsdale Art Auction! “You could have run into anyone from Paul Cezanne to Albert Camus, or famous American expats like Nina Simone or Ernest Hemingway, or the Hulings family, circa 1984.” This painting is set in the Cours […]
The Ides of March
“Morely Callaghan’s main character in this book is a failed painter who falls in love with a failed American singer—who is pretending to be Italian.” The Ides of March marked a lunar cycle in the Roman calendar that was equivalent to our March 15th; it was a day dedicated to Jupiter and settling debts. It […]
“What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?”— Michelangelo Picture it: 1949. The Art Student’s League. Clark Hulings was 27 years old and pursuing the dream, studying with the […]
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