Paul Lewis Clemens (1911 - 1992)

Birth date: 10/29/1911 Death date: 1992  
Birth location: Superior, Wisconsin Death location:  
Media: Painter / Watercolor , Painting Web site:
Fair (file rating) - MWA artist file may include basic data, and additional newspaper articles, book references, exhibition information, and images that can be researched on site at MWA.

Biographical Brief

Known as the portrait painter of the movie stars. Lived in Superior, Wisconsin area until he was 10 years old.

Biography

Paul Lewis Clemens
Born 1911 in Superior, Wisconsin
Died 1992 in Sherman Oaks, California
The son of Danish parents, Paul Lewis Clemens was born in Superior, Wisconsin on October 29, 1911.  Later, the family moved to Milwaukee.  A student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, he graduated in 1932 having studied under Professor Roland Stebbins, Oskar Hagen and Arthur Colt.  He would also study at the Art Institute of  Chicago.  
 
Around 1936 Clemens began creating original lithographs and from 1938 through 1945 he was the only American artist who was seriously devoting all his creative energies to the subject of sports. Some of his more famous paintings devoted to this subject matter are: (baseball) Casey at the Bat, a series of four paintings in the Memorial Union U.W. Madison, and a 1938 Federal Art Project painting titled, In the Dugout.  He also completed paintings and lithographs about football, auto and horse racing.
 
Clemens’ favorite model was his wife Ruth, who was also a painter, ceramist and a teacher at the Milwaukee Vocational School. In 1940, Clemens left Milwaukee and settled in Sherman Oaks, California, where he became a portraitist for Hollywood’s film stars, Katherine Hepburn, Jane Wyman (Ronald Reagan’s first wife) and Clemens’ own second wife Eleanor Parker who played the Baroness in The Sound of Music.
 
After WWII he began producing fine lithographs of city scenes and landscapes to emphasize a serious interest in social problems. Clemens spent the summer of 1949 in Europe and upon his return he spent time in Milwaukee painting the portrait of Mrs. James Porter of Fox Point. His work had the romantic ambiance, delicate hues and luminous quality of 19th century French painters and critics often referred to Clemens as “the American Renoir.” His portrait work brought him numerous commissions from Life Magazine.

Selected One-Person Exhibitions

1939

Walker Galleries, New York: Paul Lewis Clemens

1944 Durand-Ruel Galleries, New York: Exhibition of
paintings by Paul Lewis Clemens
1948
James Vigieno Galleries, Westwood, Los Angeles: Paul Clemens Portrait Exhibition
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