Artwork by William Henry Clapp,  Cancan Dancers, Paris

William H. Clapp
Cancan Dancers, Paris

double-sided oil on panel
signed lower left; “Nude Study” on the reverse
9.75 x 7.25 ins ( 24.8 x 18.4 cms )

Auction Estimate: $6,000.00$4,000.00 - $6,000.00

Price Realized $10,800.00
Sale date: November 30th 2021

Canadian Fine Arts, Toronto
Private Collection, Ontario

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William Henry Clapp
(1879 - 1954) ARCA

William Clapp was born in Montreal to American parents. He was raised in California, but returned to Montréal to study at the Art Association of Montreal, under William Brymner. He continued his art training at the Académie Julian in Paris, the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, and at the Académie Colarossi (1904-1908). In Paris, he adopted an impressionistic pointilist style, much like that of Camille Pissarro. He was interested in the effects of strong sunlight which he strove to capture in his work. He painted in France, Spain, Cuba and the United States, E. F. B. Johnston wrote in 1914, “William H. Clapp, is a good figure painter. His productions indicate sincerity and sound knowledge and show marked growth. Although somewhat of an impressionist he is very orthodox in his colour schemes, and there is a fine quality of the decorative in his work.”

Upon his return to Montréal, he began teaching, and continued to paint and exhibit his work. The art critics in Montréal were not accepting of Clapp's advanced impressionistic style. He persevered, however, becoming a member of the Canadian Art Club, the Pen and Pencil Club and ARCA.

In 1915, Clapp traveled to Cuba to paint. He remained there for two years, and then moved to Oakland California. In Oakland, he became curator and later director of the Oakland Art Gallery. In California, 1917, he became a founding member of the Society of Six, a group of plein air painters, known for their fresh and direct approach. He never returned to Canada, and died in Oakland in 1954. His work is represented in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Vol.1, by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks, Ottawa, Revised and expanded, 1997