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!
Auction Alert: Puerto Vallarta
“Night of the Iguana was filmed in Puerto Vallarta in 1963, marking the beginning of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s love affair.” Puerto Vallarta is a spectacular Hulings landscape painted in 1976. Mention of this Mexican beach resort community reminded a few of us of 1970s Love Boat episodes that frequently docked there. Elizabeth has fond […]
“In my mind there seemed to be a kinship between makers of Russian theatrical masks and makers of Hopi Kachina dolls.” One hallmark of Hulings’ compositions is the seamless weaving together of elements from different places and times—culled from his photographic archives, plein air sketches, and other source material. Even smaller works usually derive from […]
“She is either stuck or plotting a spectacular descent, or a bit of both…” Cats are quirky at the best of times, and kittens are non-stop action and exploration, as this study shows. Hulings painted Three Kittens and a Grapevine in 1985, so the source material is most likely from his three-week trip to Northern […]
The Right to Relax
“2011’s Spanish Lunch Break is a late-career piece for Hulings, and study of a well-earned moment of rest.” We get so few actual holidays where we’re not multitasking, so we hope you’re taking some time to put your feet up over the Fourth of July Weekend! Here’s a drawing of a quiet moment from Spain […]
Somewhere That’s Green
“The red accents are dotting the foreground as flowers, and Hulings fan-club members will also spot the signature piece of small red laundry hanging on the line toward the upper right.” In our first official week of summer, we thought it might be nice to spend a little time admiring this refreshing green view in […]
“A newly-married couple is drafted to help the British Secret Service foil a Nazi plot to develop a deadly sea-mine weapon.” There’s so much to love about this Hulings cover from 1962. If you’re an Alfred Hitchcock fan, you’ll see a similarity in the swirling vortex to the spinning spiral that appears as the recurring […]
Chubby in the 1970s
“Don’t blame me if it rains.” ― Eeyore the Donkey, A.A. Milne It’s been raining on and off all week in New York City, and at the end of the day, it gets a little tiring. There’s a whole part of daily life that just refuses to be glamorous—despite, or maybe even because of, the […]
Chocolates y Caramelos
“I was particularly struck by the beauty of the special diffused light: it was almost churchlike.” It seems about time for a European getaway! Today we’re in Valencia, Spain, in the middle of a bustling day in one of the largest markets in Europe. The Mercado Central started as an open-air market in 1839. The […]
Sale Alert: Taxco Horseman
“Hulings loved to paint laundry in general, and Mexican laundry in particular, and this is a show-stopping example.” Even with such a consistently strong body of work, Hulings has a few real standouts, where his classic subject matter is lifted to the next level. 1974’s Taxco Horseman is a case in point. The 24 x 36″ […]
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 […]
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