Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10: John Louis Clarke (1881-1970)


John Clark Carving Bear (LOC)
Originally uploaded by The Library of Congress

Born on this date in 1881, woodcarver John Louis Clarke, aka "Cutapuis." He was born in Highwood, Montana Territory, to Blackfoot parents (one of his grandparents was Scottish). The family was devastated in 1883, when five sons died from scarlet fever; the sixth son, John, age 2, survived with deafness; he did not learn to speak after that. He attended schools for Indian and deaf children in North Dakota, Montana, and Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, he began working at a factory that made carved church altars. He opened his own carving studio in 1913, and had his first show in Helena in 1916.

Clarke's highly detailed carvings of animals were exhibited widely and popular with buyers. Clarke's wife Mamie acted as his agent until she died in 1947, when their daughter Joyce took over that role so Clarke could concentrate on his carving. The story goes that he had his carving tools with him in the hospital room when he died at 89.

11 comments:

hat said...

I note 1970 being the year he passed away. However, other area mention of him having his tools with him in teh hospital when he died in 1989. Rockfeller family purchased quite a # of John CLarke's work. When his daughter contacted them asking for loan/donation of her father's work. They elect to take picture for display. i stopped at John Clarke's studio before i moved away from montana in 1989. It was interesting. Out in front, a fully carved goat stands. My dog barked at it. I looked at John's daughter. She laughed and said, "all dogs bark at that goat".

mili8951 said...
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Penny L. Richards said...

Whoops! Yes, that sounds a bit ghoulish. I just checked, It's 1970, I'll change the text.

Thanks for adding that anecdote--sounds like his work was realistic enough to annoy dogs!

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