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Early in the 20th century, Adèle Clark established her reputation in Richmond, Virginia, as an artist, teacher, and social activist. An ardent suffragist, she attracted crowds on Broad Street with her outdoor easel only to deliver seemingly impromptu"Votes for Women" speeches. In the 1930s, she served as state director for the federally sponsored WPA arts projects. She was also instrumental in the establishment of the Virginia State Art Commission and an active leader in the Richmond Academy ofthe Arts-the forerunner of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
While her politics were somewhat fiery, Clark's painting style was conservative for the time. Here, with short, broken brushstrokes, she captured the shimmering impression of a cherry tree blooming in her Chamberlayne Avenue garden. Never varnished, the work retains the dry, chalky surface beloved by impressionist painters, including William Merritt Chase, with whom she studied at the New York School of Art.
Signed, lower right: "Adele Clark"
Gift of Adèle Clark
"The Virginia Landscape", Virginia Historical Society, July 13 - Nov 27 2000
Valentine Museum, 1958 24 Oct - 26 Jan
James C. Kelly and William M.S. Rasmussen, The Virginia Landscape A Cultural History exhibition catalogue (Charlottesville, VA: Howell Press, in association with Virginia Historical Society, 2000) pp. 167-168, color pl. 4.108, p. 168.