Ed Clark American, 1926-2019


Ed Clark was an important African-American painter known for his lush abstractions. Many of Clark’s paintings are made on the ground using a push broom sized brush. “Art is not subject to political games, its importance elevates it above any racial difference,” he has said. “All men of talent, of noble spirit, can make it.”


Born on May 6, 1926 in New Orleans, LA, he grew up in Baton Rouge and later moved to Chicago with his family. In 1943, he joined the Air Force and served in the South Pacific during World War II. After returning to the United States, Clark enrolled in the School of Art Institute of Chicago with the aid of the GI Bill. Moving to Paris in 1952, he studied under Ossip Zadkine and was exposed to a number of artists including the CoBrA group, Art Informel, and Nicolas de Staël. Clark remained in Paris even after his GI Bill had ended, as it represented a society in which his race was less likely to determine the fate of his career. Though he eventually settled in New York during the late 1950s, Clark continued visiting Paris through the following decades. The artist’s works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Studio Museum in New York, and the Detroit Institute of Arts, among others. Clark passed away on October 18, 2019 at the age of 93.