Clark McDougall was born in St. Thomas in 1921. At the age of 16 Clark left high school determined to become an artist. He would ride his bike north of St. Thomas into North Yarmouth and paint watercolours directly from nature. He taught himself proper technique from library books and sought advice from local artist William St. Thomas Smith. In 1950, at the age of 29, Clark traveled to Montreal and Quebec City where he first experienced the paintings of Henri Matisse. He now realized that colour and line could be used in a completely different way. By 1952-3 Clark was working as a “Fauve” painter, where his colours were intensely vivid and non-naturalistic.
A coronary in 1957 forced Clark to paint from photographs in his studio. His painting style changed where the outline became very important to the structure and design of the painting. Clark’s unique “black enamel” style set him apart from other regional artists. His first exhibition of these “black enamel” paintings was in 1968 at the 20/20 Gallery, London. In 1976 the Volunteer Committee at the London Regional Art Gallery commissioned a painting, “Site”, to commemorate the building of the new gallery. In 1977 the Vancouver Art Gallery organized an exhibition “Clark McDougall: Paintings since 1953”.
Regardless of the style, however, Clark had a highly individual way of interpreting his beloved landscape of North Yarmouth. Clark McDougall passed away of a brain tumor in 1980 at the age of 59. In 1987 the London Regional Art Gallery mounted a large retrospective exhibition of Clark’s work. Most recently in 2011, the McIntosh Gallery, UWO produced a hard-cover book to accompany their exhibition “Fugitive Light: Clark McDougall’s Destination Places”. Michael Gibson Gallery represents the Estate of Clark McDougall. His paintings are in countless corporate collections as well as the Art Gallery of Ontario, Vancouver Art Gallery, Museum London and the Canada Council Art Bank.
April 4 - April 25 - 2020
In this exhibition we are sharing Clark’s work from private and public collections and highlighting two subjects that he returned to often: the rural landscapes of North Yarmouth Township and the energetic city streets for[...]More
December 8 - January 11 - 2019
In the middle gallery for the month of December we are featuring a curated exhibition of Canadian watercolour artists. Hung salon style, the artists include: Jack Bush, AJ Casson, Paterson EwenMore
1921 Born November 21 at 56 Inkerman Street, St. Thomas where he lived all his life except for the period from 1939-1945. Went to Balaclava Street Public School and St. Thomas Collegiate Institute.
1932 Met St. Thomas painters William St. Thomas Smith & Ross Osgoode. From then on had them as friends and critics.
1933 Began to paint from nature. First attempts in watercolour. Subjects from North Yarmouth (north of St. Thomas). Taught himself technique from books borrowed from the St. Thomas Public Library: “The History of British Watercolour Painting” by Cundall & “Technique of Landscape Painting in Oils” by Sir Alfred East.
1937 Left School. Supported himself by selling paintings. Read about American painter Charles Burchfield in one of the first Life Magazines. Travelled to Buffalo to meet him and have him criticize his work. Also visited the Albright-Knox School for the same purpose. In both cases he was advised that he would probably benefit very little from formal instruction. His watercolour heroes were John Sell Cotman, Richard Parkes Bonington & Winslow Homer.
1939 Tried to join the Air Force. Transferred to war work because of leaky heart valve.
Art Gallery of Ontario
Bank of Canada
Bank of Nova Scotia
Blackburn Media Employees Association
Canada Council Art Bank
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
City of St. Thomas
Corporation of the City of Toronto
Department of External Affairs, Ottawa
Gulf Canada Corporation
LAC Minerals Ltd
London Free Press Employees Association
Merchant Private Trust
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt
St. Thomas – Elgin Public Art Gallery
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa
University of Western Ontario, London
Vancouver Art Gallery
1940 Worked for Fleet aircraft in Fort Erie, did layout work for sheet metal and then Sutton Horsley Instrument Co. in Toronto. Returned to St. Thomas practically every weekend for 5 years.
1943 First exhibition at Robert Mellors Fine Art Gallery in Toronto. Met Manly MacDonald, A.R.C.A., O.S.A.
1944 Attended Ontario College of Art, Toronto for one week where they told him the same thing as Charles Burchfield. Exhibited with E. Luscombe Carroll, Toronto (Nov 2-30), & Alma College, St. Thomas (April 17-22). Don McDougall, Clark’s brother, took some of Clark’s paintings to New York.
1945 Exhibited watercolour landscapes at Lenora Morton Gallery, New York City (May 21-June 9) – review in Art News v 44 June 1945, p37 & Art Digest v19, June 1945 p17, Carroll Fine Arts, Toronto (Nov 5-20), J.N. Adams Department Store, Buffalo (March 22-April 19), & Andersons Department Store, St. Thomas (Nov 2-16). Taught at Arthur Voaden School. Gave classes in his own home, also in Strathroy. Married Muriel Enid Tidy in October.
(Clark McDougall had a car for a short while after the war but got into an accident; after that he used a bicycle until his coronary, then hitched rides to locations with his brother Don and other friends).
1946 Commissioned by E.L. Cockshutt to paint the Cockshutt Memorial Shield for the Zion United Chruch in Brantford, in memory of those killed in WW II. Exhibited with the Buffalo Society of Artists at the Hotel Statten, Buffalo (April 20-28).
1946/7 Exhibited at Morton Gallery, New York – watercolour landscapes (Dec 16 – Jan 4). Review in Art Digest v21 Jan 15, 1947, p21.
1949 Exhibition at St. Thomas Public Library. Exhibited in 9th Annual Western Ontario Exhibition, London Public Library and Art Museum, 2nd Annual Winter Exhibition, Art Gallery of Hamilton.
1950 Began painting in oils. Exhibited in 3rd Annual Winter Exhibition, Art Gallery of Hamilton. With his wife and Brock Dais he visited Montreal and Quebec City. Saw paintings by Henri Matisse, James Wilson Morrice & John Lyman which had a decisive impact on his painting, use of colour, and the way he looked at the landscape. Spent a lot of time painting in Erin, Ontario.
1952 Exhibition at David Garfield Gallery, Toronto (Oct 25-Nov 7) which has his last exhibition in a commercial gallery. Exhibited IODE Town House, St. Thomas (Nov 22-Dec 3). Rented a room from farmer friend Al Joe Kalen at Elmira and painted throughout the summer at Glen Allan.
1953 Exhibited at the 70th Annual Spring Exhibition, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Last time he was to exhibit until 1959). Jurors included John Lyman and Lilias Torrance Newton.
1954 Commissioned by the Elgin County Board of Education to do a series of murals for the entrance lobby of the Central Elgin Collegiate Institute, St. Thomas. Painting in what Clark called his “Fauve Period”. Painted again at Glen Allan, also in Port Stanley. Attended a symposium at Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo to hear Clement Greenberg speak. Showed Greenberg some of his Port Stanley paintings which Greenberg liked and was encouraging. Painted a painting there of East Broadway which was eventually printed as a serigraph by Editions Canada. Taught evening classes to the West Elgin Art Club at West Elgin District High School.
1955 Commissioned by Monsignor Morrison to paint a set of the 14 Stations of the Cross for Holy Angels Church, St. Thomas.
1957 Suffered a heart attack and was confined indoors for three months. Pains “Fresh Fish at Port” and refers to it as the start of the black enamel style. “Release of the Thistledown” uses black oil outline. Uses casein for the first time.
1959 Exhibition at the London Public Library and Art Museum (reviewed by Lenore Crawford in the LFP).
1960's THROUGH LATE LIFE
1960 Exhibition at Shute Institute, Grand Ave in London
1962 Black enamel first appears. Begins to alternate between semi-abstract and representational approaches as a regular way of working.
1965 Death of his wife in Toronto (March 24)
1967 Painted the Provincial Shields at the Federal Coat of Arms for Parkside Collegiate, St. Thomas.
1968 Exhibition at the 20/20 Gallery, London (Oct 15-Nov3) (Reviwed by Lenore Crawford in the LFP).
1969 Exhibition at Rodman Hall in St. Catherines, ON & Western Alumni Collection at McIntosh Gallery, UWO. “Talbot Street 1964” is purchased by Art Gallery St. Thomas-Elgin in April. Henry Luce III (Chairman of the board of “Time” Magazine) purchases “Yonge & Dundas 1” and “Interior, Port Burwell Anglican Church”.
1972 Retrospective exhibition at the Art Gallery St. Thomas-Elgin. Included in “London Collects” London Public Library and Art Museum (Oct 6-30).
1973 Canada Council Art Bank purchases 11 paintings.
1974 Solo exhibition of 14 black enamel paintings at the Art Gallery St. Thomas-Elgin. Included in Canadian Canvas, a travelling exhibition sponsored by Time Canada. Included in Selections from the Collection of the London Public Library and Art Museum & Art Gallery St. Thomas-Elgin (July 5-Aug 2). Included in exhibition at St. Thomas Public Library 1963-1974 (Sept 27-Oct 26).
1975/6 Included in “London Collects II” at the London Public Library and Art Museum (Dec)
1976 Two black enamel oils are included in “The Artist and the Olympic Idea” at the Art Gallery St. Thomas-Elgin (Aug 24-Sept 4). Commissioned by the Volunteer Committee of the London Regional Art Gallery to do the “Site” painting for the new building which was also created into an Editions Canada print. Included in The Ontario Community Collects exhibition at the AGO.
1977 Major exhibition of 47 works at the Vancouver Art Gallery called “Clark McDougall: Paintings since 1953” (April 2 – May 1). Exhibited at the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery in a show called “50 works by Canadian Artists” (January). Included with “Site” print in Volunteer Committee Biennial Festival and Sale of Prints, London Public Library and Art Museum. Editions Canada publish a second print called “East Broadway Buffalo” (edition of 110).
1978 Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings 1939-1973 at the Michael Kompf Gallery, St. Thomas (Nov 1-25). Exhibition at the Harris Gallery, London (Aug 26-Sept 12). Solo Exhibition at the Art Gallery St. Thomas-Elgin (Nov 1 -25). Painted last black enamel painting called “Pin Ball Palace” which was reproduced on the cover of UWO’s “The Business Quarterly”. Michael Kompf printed a photolithographic edition of four black and white and four colour serigraph prints made by Editions Canada.
1979 Included in Queen’s Silver Jubilee Travelling Exhibition with “Fowler’s Kitchen”. First showing of videotape “Outline in Black”, produced by John Stirling.
1980 Exhibition at McMaster University Medical Centre Art Gallery, Hamilton entitled “Outline in Black” (Feb 4 – Mar 4). Included in Art Bank Travelling Exhibition (Feb 22-Nov 8). Included in London and Area Artists Part 1 at the London Regional Art Gallery (Aug 22 – Sept 28).
August 1980 Clark’s mother at the age of 100 went into the hospital (dies at age 102).
December 17, Clark McDougall, aged 60, dies of brain tumour.
EXHIBITIONS 1980s - PRESENT
1983 Exhibition at Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto (Aug 5-24).
1984 Exhibition entitled “Clark McDougall: Barns 1952-1978” (Sept 29-Oct 17) (catalogue)
1986 Exhibition “City Streets 1950-77” at Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto (March)
1987 Paddy O’Brien, director of London Regional Art Gallery curates a retrospective exhibition of Clark’s work called “John Street is a one-way Street: Clark McDougall Retrospective”. Exhibition travels to Memorial University Art Gallery, St. John’s, NFLD, Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON, Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax, NS & Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, NB. (catalogue)
Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto Exhibition “Clark McDougall: Elgin County Landscapes” (Oct 3-21) & Art Gallery St. Thomas-Elgin, “Clark McDougall: Early Works” (Sept 11 – Oct 11). All three exhibitions were reviewed by Tom Smart in Canadian Art Magazine in the Spring 1988.
1988 Exhibition at Art Gallery Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax
1995 Exhibition “Clark McDougall 1950-1975” at Thielsen Galleries, London (April)
1998 Exhibition “Clark McDougall – A Colour Primer” at Buschlen-Mowatt Gallery, Vancouver, BC.
2004 Exhibition “Clark McDougall’s Elgin”, St. Thomas – Elgin Public Art Centre, works from the collection.
2009 Michael Gibson Gallery, London, Ontario represents the Estate of Clark McDougall. First exhibition entitled “Post-Fauve Period 1952-1964” June 13 – July 4, 2009. Two person
exhibition with Roly Fenwick “The Road Show” December 2009.
2010 Exhibition “Clark McDougall: A Life on the Land” organized by the Elgin County Museum, St. Thomas, ON which included paintings from the permanent collections of McIntosh Gallery, Museum London and the St. Thomas-Elgin Public Art Centre.
Second Solo Exhibition at the Michael Gibson Gallery – “Clark’s View” – December 2010
2011 McIntosh Gallery, UWO curates a solo exhibition “Fugitive Light: Clark McDougall’s Destination Places March –May, 2011. (catalogue)
2012 “Clark’s Urban Life” solo exhibition at the Michael Gibson Gallery. A selection of watercolours and oil paintings of street-scenes from Buffalo, St. Thomas, London and Toronto.
2014 “Black and White” two person exhibition with Clark McDougall and Margot Ariss featuring Clark’s rare black and white enamel paintings at Michael Gibson Gallery.
2016 “The Desire to Acquire: London Collects”, group exhibition at Museum London, London, ON (catalogue).
2017 “Paintings from 1944-1954” solo exhibition at Michael Gibson Gallery featuring watercolours and paintings created during 1944-1954.
2020 “Clark McDougall’s Two Solitudes” solo exhibition at Michael Gibson Gallery featuring artworks borrowed from the estate, private collectors and public galleries. The exhibition highlighted two subjects that Clark McDougall returned to often: the rural landscapes of North Yarmouth Township and the energetic city streets for which he was familiar. (online catalogue)
(Parts of Chronology taken from 1987 Exhibition Catalogue “John Street is a one-way street: Clark McDougall Retrospective”, London Regional Art Gallery, London, Ontario.)
London Gallery Showing Unique McDougall Works
June 9, 2009
Gallery Publication of "Early Works" Exhibition
Clark McDougall at Mira Godard