Willard Clark: Woodcuts and Wood Engravings

A long-time supporter of the Museum of Texas Tech University, William Davies, donated through his estate 80 woodcuts and wood engravings by Willard Clark (1910-1992). Davies had collected most of these prints between 1990 and 2010.

Willard Clark, born in Massachusetts and as a young boy raised in Argentina, studied painting in the mid-1920s at the Grand Central School of Art in New York City. In 1928, he decided to move to California to join his father who was working for Phillips Petroleum. On his westward journey, he stopped in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The people, the prevalence of spoken Spanish (perhaps a reminder of his youth in Argentina), and the landscape of this region attracted him. He abandoned his California destination and opened up a printing business in the small New Mexican capital.

He closed his printing business in 1942 and went to work for Los Alamos Laboratory as a tool and dye specialist. He retired from Los Alamos in the mid-1970s and made jewelry. Soon, however, he bought another printing press and reopened his print shop in about 1985. During the tenure of his first printing shop, Clark had made woodcuts and wood engravings. When he re-opened his press in the 1980s, he continued to make prints from old and newly cut blocks, all featuring that landscapes, culture and daily life from the Santa Fe area.

In 1965 Clark opened a gallery for his work and in 1975, Kevin Ryan, Clark’s grandson, went to work for the artist. After a stroke in 1990, Clark taught his grandson how to print the woodcuts and wood engravings. Ryan printed Clark’s matrices while he was alive and also following his death. A few of the prints reproduced here are re-strikes.


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