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!
“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 […]
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 […]
SOLD: 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 […]
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