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CLAED99307 Untitled

Ed Clark

Portrait of Ed Clark. Photo: Chester Higgins Jr/The New York Times/Redux

Portrait of Ed Clark. Photo: Chester Higgins Jr/The New York Times/Redux


Born in New Orleans in 1926 and raised in Chicago, Clark emerged in the 1950s as a pioneer of the New York School. Over the course of seven decades, his experimentations with pure color, abstract form, and the seductive materiality of paint have yielded an oeuvre of remarkable originality, extending the language of American abstraction. Clark’s breakthroughs have an important place in the story of modern and contemporary art: In the late 1950s he was the first American artist credited with exhibiting a shaped canvas, an innovation that continues to reverberate today. His search for a means to breach the limitations of the conventional paintbrush led him to use a push broom to apply pigment to canvas laid out on the floor. Defying the discreet categories of gestural and hard-edged abstraction, Clark has masterfully interwoven both into a unique form of expressionism – literally sweeping his medium into an atmospheric, emotive, and ultimately exuberant art.

After studying at the Art Institute of Chicago and L’Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris, Clark continued to live and work in France, absorbing the influence of such European modernists as Nicolas de Staël, Pierre Soulages, and Jean Riopelle. He became a member of a social and intellectual circle of American expatriate artists and writers, including fellow African-American creative lights Beauford Delaney, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Barbara Chase-Riboud. Clark settled in New York in 1957, where over the ensuing decade he became part of the city’s dynamic downtown scene and a co-founder of the Brata Gallery, an artist-run cooperative among the Tenth Street galleries of the East Village. From the late 1960s until the last decade, Clark split his time between New York and Paris, traveling extensively to other locales from Mexico and Brazil to North Africa and Greece. In 2019, while living in Detroit, Clark passed away at the age of 93. ‘No matter what I do,’ the artist said, ‘there’s not a day that I’m not an artist.’


Born New Orleans LA, 1926


The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL, 1951
L’Academie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris FR, 1953

Died Detroit MI, 2019

Solo Exhibitions

2018 Mnuchin Gallery, ‘Ed Clark: A Survey’, New York NY

2017 Weiss Berlin, 'Ed Clark', Berlin, Germany
Tilton Gallery, ‘Edward Clark: Paintings’, New York

2016 N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, ‘Ed Clark’, Detroit MI

2015 N’Namdi Contemporary, ‘Ed Clark: Locomotion’, Miami FL

2014 The Mistake Room, ‘Ed Clark: A Thousand Lights of Sun’, cur. Cesar Garcia, Los Angeles CA
Tilton Gallery, ‘Ed Clark: Big Bang’, cur. David Hammons, New York NY

2013 N’Namdi Contemporary, ‘Le Mouvement: The Ed Clark Retrospective’, Miami FL

2012 Stella Jones Gallery, ‘Louisiana Roots: Ed Clark Returns Home’, New Orleans LA

2011 The N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, ‘Ed Clark, The Search: A Sixty Year Retrospective’, Detroit MI

2008 Pensacola Museum of Art, ‘Ed Clark: For the Sake of the Search’, Pensacola FL

2007 G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Ed Clark: Rebirth’, New York NY [travelled to: G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, Chicago/IL]

2004 Parish Gallery, ‘Edward Clark: Paris and New York: Works on Small Canvas’, Washington D.C.

2003 G. R. N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Ed Clark: Paris/New York: Le Mouvement’, Chicago IL

2001 Peg Alston Fine Art, ‘Ed Clark: Mexican Series’, New York NY
G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Ed Clark: Midi Series – “Chasing the Sun”’, Detroit MI

2000 G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Ed Clark: Homage to the Year of the Dragon, China Series’, Chicago, IL [travelled to: G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, Birmingham/MI]

1998 Cinque Gallery, ‘Edward Clark: From Sicily to Egypt’, New York NY

1997 G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Ed Clark: Egyptian Series’, Chicago IL [travelled to: G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, Birmingham/MI]

1992 Wilmer Jennings Gallery, Kenkeleba House, ‘Ed Clark’, New York NY

1991 Galerie Resche, ‘Ed Clark: Paris’, Paris, France

1990 Spiral Gallery, ‘Ed Clark’, Brooklyn NY
Isobel Neal Gallery, ‘Ed Clark’, Chicago IL
G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, Birmingham AL

1989 Gallery Kesser-Bohbot, ‘Ed Clark’, Hamburg, Germany

1988 Manhattan East Gallery of Fine Arts, ‘Ed Clark: Bahia Series’, New York NY

1987 Alitash Kebede Fine Arts, ‘Ed Clark’, Los Angeles CA
Gallery Art 54, ‘Ed Clark: New Paintings’, New York NY

1983 Randall Gallery, ‘Ed Clark’, New York NY

1982 Jazzonia Gallery, ‘Ed Clark’, Detroit MI

1981 Citicorp Center, ‘Ed Clark’, New York NY
Randall Gallery, ‘Edward Clark: Martinique Interlude, Paintings and Pastels’, New York NY

1980 The Studio Museum in Harlem, ‘Ed Clark: A Complex Identity’, New York NY
Contemporary Arts Center, ‘Ed Clark’, New Orleans LA
H.C. Taylor Gallery, North Carolina A&T State University, ‘Ed Clark’, Greensboro NC

1979 Randall Gallery, ‘Ed Clark: Louisiana Series’, New York NY

1978 Louisiana State University, ‘Ed Clark’, Baton Rouge LA

1977 Peg Alston Arts, New York NY

1976 Sullivant Gallery, Ohio State University, ‘Ed Clark’, Columbus OH

1975 James Yu Gallery, ‘Ed Clark’, New York, NY

1974 South Houston Gallery, ‘Ed Clark: New Paintings and Drawings’, New York NY

1972 Lehman College Art Gallery, CUNY, ‘Ed Clark’, Bronx NY
141 Prince Street Gallery, New York NY
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo MI

1971 Donald Judd’s Loft, ‘Ed Clark’, New York NY

1969 American Embassy, ‘Ed Clark’, Paris, France

1966 Galerie R. Creuze, ‘Clark’, Paris, France

1958 Brata Gallery, ‘Ed Clark’, New York NY

1956 Galerie R. Creuze, ‘Clark: Peintures’, Paris, France

1951 YMCA, ‘Ed Clark’, Chicago IL

Group Exhibitions

2022 Grey Art Gallery, New York University, ‘Americans in Paris: Artists Working in France, 1946–1962’, New York NY (Forthcoming)

2020 Museum of Contemporary Art, ‘Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago’, Chicago IL

2019 The Baltimore Museum of Art, ‘Generations. A History of Black Abstract Art’, Baltimore MD
The Broad, ‘Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power’, cur. Mark Godfrey, Zoe Whitley, Ashley James, Los Angeles, CA [travelled to: The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn/NY; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville/AR; Tate Modern, London/UK]
Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building, ‘Harlem Roots’, New York NY

2018 Tilton Gallery, ‘Noah Purifoy and East Coast/West Coast’, New York NY
Museum of Modern Art, ‘The Long Run’, cur. Paulina Pobocha, Cara Manes, Jenny Harris, New York NY
Greene Naftali and Matthew Marks, ‘Painting: Now & Forever, Part III’, New York NY
Tilton Gallery, ‘In Tribute to Jack Tilton: A Selection from 35 Years’, New York NY
University of Maryland University College, ‘The Language of Abstraction’, Adelphi MD

2017 Pace Gallery, ‘Impulse’, cur. Tamara Corm, Amelie von Wedel, Pernilla Holmes, London, United Kingdom
Grey Art Gallery, New York University, ‘Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-1965’, New York NY
N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Mastering Abstraction: 80s and 90s’, Miami FL
The James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Morgan State University, ‘Abstract Expressionism and The Cold War’, Baltimore MD

2016 Newark Museum, ‘Modern Heroics’, cur. Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Newark NJ

2015 Greene Naftali, ‘Works on Paper’, New York

2014 University of Maryland University College, ‘Unveiled: Works from the UMUC Art Collections’, Adelphi MD
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, ‘Beyond the Spectrum: Abstraction in African American Art’, New York NY
Prospect New Orleans, ‘Prospect.3: Notes for Now’, New Orleans LA

2013 N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, ‘50 Years of Abstraction’, Detroit MI
Whitney Museum, ‘Blues for Smoke’, cur. Bennett Simpson, New York NY [travelled to: Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus/OH

2012 Loretta Howard Gallery, ‘The Lure of Paris’, New York NY

2011 Shaw Center for the Arts, ‘Beyond Black: Ed Clark, Eugene Martin and John T. Scott’, Baton Rouge LA
University Museums at University of Delaware, ‘Abstract Relations’, cur. Julie M. McGee, Dr. Adrienne Childs, Newark DE [travelled to: David C. Driskell Center, College Park/MD]

2010 Anita Shapolsky Gallery, ‘African American Abstract Masters’, New York NY
Rush Arts Gallery, ‘Flow’, New York NY
Parish Gallery, ‘Masters for the First Family’, Washington D.C.

2009 BLT Gallery, ‘Wiser Than God vs. Younger Than Jesus’, cur. Adrian Dannatt, Jan Frank, New York NY
Walk Tall Gallery, ‘Forms of Abstraction’, East Hampton NY

2007 Derek Eller Gallery, ‘NeoIntegrity’, New York NY

2004 Parish Gallery, ‘From Paris to New York’, Washington DC
The Phillips Museum of Art, Franklin & Marshall College, ‘Something to Look Forward To’, Lancaster PA
Studio 18 Gallery, ‘Mirage & Metaphor’, New York NY

2003 Jack Tilton Gallery and Anna Kustera Gallery, ‘No Greater Love: Abstraction’, New York NY
The Art Institute of Chicago, ‘A Century of Collecting: African American Art in the Art Institute of Chicago’, Chicago IL

2002 Christine Koenig Gallery, ‘Quiet as it’s Kept’, cur. David Hammons, Vienna, Austria
Sugar Hill Art Center, Harlem, ‘Six American Masters’, New York NY

2001 The Studio Museum in Harlem, ‘Red, Black, and Green’, New York NY

1997 Rush Arts Gallery, ‘Sweeps & Views: Clark & Cowans’, New York NY

1996 The Studio Museum in Harlem, ‘Explorations in the City of Light: African-American Artists in Paris, 1945-1965’, New York NY [travelled to: Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago/IL; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans/LA; The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth/TX; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee/WI]

1995 The Whitney Museum of American Art, ‘Beat Culture and the New America: 1950-1965’, New York NY [travelled to: The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis/MN; M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco/CA]

1994 A.F.T.U./Bill Hodgesork, ‘Symphony’, New York NY
Museum of Science and Industry, ‘Black Creativity’, Chicago IL [travelled to: American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York/NY]
James E. Lewis Museum of Art, Morgan State University, ‘Three Masters’, Baltimore MD

1993 The Studio Museum in Harlem, ‘25 Years of African-American Abstraction’, New York NY
University of Michigan-Dearborn, ‘Diversity & Style, African American Artists’, Dearborn MI
G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Forty Years of African American Printmaking’, Birmingham MI

1992 Hillwood Art Museum, Long Island University, ‘Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop’, C.W. Post Brookville NY [traveled to: the Bronx River Art Center, Bronx/NY]
Bomani Gallery, ‘Paris Connections: African American Artists in Paris’, San Francisco CA

1991 The Studio Museum in Harlem, ‘Recent Acquisitions’, New York NY
G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Forms of Abstraction’, Birmingham MI
The Art Institute of Chicago, ‘From America’s Studio’, Chicago, IL
Galerie d’Art Noire Contemporain, ‘Les Afro-Americains et l’Europe, 1960-1992’, Paris, France
Galerie Resche, ‘Paris Connections’, Paris, France

1990 Carl Murphy Fine Arts Center, Morgan State University, ‘Group Exhibition’, Baltimore, MD
Artists Space, ‘Artists Space Group Show’, New York NY

1989 California Afro-American Museum, ‘African American Abstraction in Printmaking’, Los Angeles CA
Philippe Briet Gallery, ‘Don’t You Know by Now’, New York NY
Jamaica Arts Center, ‘Abstract Expressionism: The Missing Link’, New York NY

1988 Buckam Fine Arts, ‘Crossroads 88’, Flint MI

1987 ___, ‘The Art of Black America’, Tokyo, Japan

1986 G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, ‘Paris to New York, 1966-1986’, Birmingham MI

1985 Gallery of the Avant-Garde, ‘The Lower East Side: 1950-1970’, New York NY
The Studio Museum in Harlem, ‘Recent Acquisitions and Notables from the Permanent Collection’, New York NY

1984 The Studio Museum in Harlem, ‘Treasures from Harlem: Permanent Collection’, New York NY Grand Palais, ‘Réalités Nouvelles, 1984’, Paris, France

1983 N.G.E. Gallery, ‘Al Loving, Ed Clark’, East Cleveland OH
The Fine Arts Museum of Long Island, ‘Celebrating Contemporary Black American Artists’, Hempstead NY

1982 One Penn Plaza, ‘Contemporary Art at One Penn Plaza’, New York NY

1981 Jazzonia Gallery, ‘New York Group Show’, Detroit MI
Just Above Midtown, ‘5+5: Artists Introduce Artists’, New York NY

1980 P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Institute for Art and Urban Resources, ‘Afro-American Abstraction’, Long Island City NY
Galerie d’Art Miktal, ‘Retour Aux Sources’, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivore
Yolisa House, ‘Ed Clark, Adger Cowans, Bill Hutson’, New York NY
Black Enterprise, ‘Journeys, Two Views: Recent Paintings by Ed Clark and Bill Hutson’, New York NY

1979 The Studio Museum in Harlem, ‘Another Generation’, New York NY
Randall Gallery, ‘Group Show’, New York NY
Centro de Arte Moderno de Guadalajara, ‘Icarus Odyssey’, Guadalajara, Mexico

1978 JustAbove Midtown, ‘Contextures’, New York NY
Art Salon, New York NY

1977 Florida International University, ‘Contemporary Black Art: A Selected Sampling’, Miami FL
___, ‘Tenth Street Days: The Co-Ops of the 1950s’, New York NY
Ankrum Gallery, ‘Graphic Arts Exhibition: A Selected Sampling’, Los Angeles CA

1976 Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, ‘Bicentennial Banners’, Washington D.C.

1974 Academy of Arts and Letters, New York NY

1973 The Whitney Museum of American Art, ‘1973 Biennial Exhibition’, New York NY
The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, ‘Fall Exhibitions’, Ridgefield CT

1972 141 Prince Street, ‘Large Works Exhibition’, cur. Ed Clark, New York, NY

1971 De Luxe Movie Theater in the 5th Ward, ‘De Luxe Show’, Houston, TX

1970 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, ‘Afro-American Artists: New York and Boston’, Boston MA The University Art Museum of the University of Texas, ‘Afro-American Artists Abroad’, Austin TX [traveled to: Baltimore/MD; Boston/MA]

1969 American Center for Artists, ‘Trois Noirs U.S.A.’, Paris, France
Cal Murphy Fine Arts Center, Morgan State College, ‘Two Man Show: Ed Clark and Lawrence Kalawale’, Baltimore MD

1964 Svea-Galleriet, Stockholm, Sweden

1963 Riverside Museum, ‘Contemporary Artists’, New York NY

1960 Modern Museum, ‘The Brata Group’, Tokyo, Japan

1959 Bennington College, Bennington VT
Nova Gallery, Boston, MA
Marino Galleries, ‘53 Fighting Co-Operative Artists’, New York NY

1956 Salon des Independents, Paris, France

1955 Museé des Arts Decoratifs, Musée du Louvre, ‘Prix D’Othon Friesz’, Paris, France
American Center for Artists, ‘Grandes Toiles de Montparnasse’, Paris, France

1954 Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Paris, France
American Center for Artists, ‘Grandes Toiles de Montparnasse’, Paris, France
Salon de Comparison, Paris, France

1952 Société du Salon d’Automne, Paris, France

Awards & Grants

2020 Alain Locke International Art Award, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit MI

2013 Legends and Legacy Award, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago IL

2000 Featured Artist, Art for Life Gala, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, East Hampton NY

1990 Honoree, 36th Annual Bal Africain, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit MI

1988 Painters and Sculptors Grant Recipient, The Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York NY

1994 Congressional Achievement Award, United States

1985 Award in Painting, National Endowment for the Arts, United States

1981 Individual Support Grant, The Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, New York NY

1975 CAPS Grant, Creative Artists Program Services, New York State Council on the Arts, New York NY

1972 Award in Painting, National Endowment for the Arts, United States

1955 Prix d’Othon Friesz, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France



2018 Antwaun Sargent, ‘Ed Clark: A Survey’, New York: Mnuchin Gallery, 2018 (exh. cat.)

2014 Hudgins, Lauren, Tilton, Connie Rogers (eds.), ‘Ed Clark: Big Bang’, New York: Tilton Gallery, 2014 (exh. cat.)

2013 Edwards, Jeff, ‘Le Mouvement: The Ed Clark Retrospective’, Detroit, MI: N’Namdi Contemporary, 2013 (exh. cat.)

2007 N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, Ed Clark: Master Painter. Detroit, MI: G.R. N’Namdi Gallery, 2007 (exh. cat.)

1997 Cavalier, Barbara, N’Namdi, George R., ‘Edward Clark: For the Sake of the Search’ Belleville Lake: Belleville Lake Press, 1997 (exh. cat.)

1988 Hotton, Julia, ‘Ed Clark: Bahia Series’ New York: Manhattan East Fine Arts,1988 (exh. cat.)

1980 Feldman, Anita, ‘Edward Clark: A Complex Identity’, New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1981 (exh. cat.)


2017 Godfrey, Mark, Whitley, Zoe, ‘Soul of a Nation,’ London: Tate Publishing, 2017 (exh. cat.)

2016 English, Darby, ‘1971: A Year in the Life of Color’, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016

2006 Dantzic, Cynthia Maria, ‘100 New York Painters’, Chester County: Schiffer Publishing, 2006

2002 Hammons, David, ‘Quiet As It’s Kept’, Vienna: Christine König Gallery, 2002

1996 Mercer, Valerie, ‘Explorations in the City of Light: African-American Artists in Paris, 1945-1965’, New York: The Studio Museum in Harlem, 1996 (exh. cat.)

1992 Bomane, Asake, Rooks, Belvie (eds.), ‘Paris Connections: African American Painters in Paris’, San Francisco: Q.E.D. Press,1992 (exh. cat.)

1984 Center for Art & Culture of Bedford-Stuyvesant, ‘In a Stream of Ink’, Brooklyn: The Printmaking Workshop, Center for Arts and Culture of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Inc., 1984 (exh. cat.)

1983 Flomenhaft, Eleanor, ‘Celebrating Contemporary American Black Artists’, Hempstead: Fine Arts Museum of Long Island, 1983 (exh. cat.)

1981 Goncharov, Kathleen, Kingsley, April, ‘5+5: Artists Introduce Artists’. New York: City Gallery, 1981 (exh. cat.)
Kelly, June. New York, NY: Randall Gallery,1981 (exh. cat.)
Robbins, Corinne, ‘Pluralist Era: American Art 1969-1981’, New York: Harper & Row, 1981

1980 ‘Retour aux Sources: une Exposition en Afrique d’Artistes Afro Americains’ Abdijan: Galerie d’Art Mitkal,1980 (exh. cat.)
Kingsley, April, ‘Afro-American Abstraction’, New York: P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, 1980 (exh. cat.)

1979 Jones, LeRoi, Baraka, Amiri, ‘Selected Plays and Prose of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones’, New York: William Morrow Company, Inc.,1979

1978 Goode-Bryant, Linda, ‘Contextures’, New York: Just Above Midtown Gallery, 1978 (exh. cat.)

1977 Bard, Joellen, ‘Tenth Street Days: The Co-Ops of the 50’s’. New York: Education, Art & Service, inc, 1977

1973 The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, ‘New Acquisitions, Gifts, and Loans: Selections from the Collection’. Ridgefield: The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, 1973 (exh. cat.)

1970 Lewis, James E., ‘Afro-American Artists Abroad’, Austin: University Art Museum, University of Texas, 1970 (exh. cat.)

1957 Seuphor, Michel, ‘Dictionnaire de la Peinture Abstraite’, Paris: Hazan, 1957

1955 Conil-Lecoste, Michel, ‘Galerie R. Creuze Catalogue’, Paris: Galerie R. Creuze, 1955 (exh. cat.)

1953 Tapié, Michel, ‘Peintres Américains en France’, Paris: Galerie Craven, 1953 (exh. cat.)


2020 Valentine, Victoria L., 'Record-Setting Painting by Noah Davis and Abstract Canvas by Ed Clark Top Phillips New Now Contemporary Art Auction', on:, Silver Spring, 6 March 2020, ill.
___, 'Object lessons: from a spring-time Alma Thomas to an enamel lamp representing an 'ecstatic orgasm'', in: The Art Newspaper, London, 2 March 2020, ill.
Graff, Gary, ‘Late painter to receive special award from DIA’, in: The Oakland Press, Oakland, 21 Februrary 2020, ill.

2019 Smith, Roberta and Vigdor, Neil, ‘Ed Clark, Pioneering Abstract Expressionist Painter, Dies at 93’, in: The New York Times, New York NY, 19 October 2019, ill.
Basciano, Oliver, ‘Ed Clark. Obituary’, in: The Guardian, London, England, 1 November 2019, ill.
Langer, Emily, ‘Ed Clark, 93, abstract painter whose brush was a broom and grew up in Chicago, has died’, in: The Chicago Tribune, Chicago IL, 29 October 2019

Selected Images

Ed Clark, Soul of a Nation, Installation Image

1 of 10

Gallery Exhibitions

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10 Sep – 26 Oct 2019, New York, 22nd Street

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