Artist biography

English painter. He was the son of a Danish interior decorator and a woman of Scottish descent. At 14 he was apprenticed to the drawing office of Messrs Trollope, a London firm of decorators. While working there he attended evening classes at the National Art Training School, South Kensington.

Clausen was a founder-member of the New English Art Club (NEAC) and was committed to reforming the selection process of the Royal Academy. Clausen was the most widely respected of the NEAC painters, promoting the interests of the Glasgow Boys.

The works produced after Clausen's move to Widdington, Essex, in 1891 demonstrate a greater interest in movement and atmosphere. Clausen was so prominent in the Royal Academy by this stage that in 1904 he became Professor of Painting, a post he held for two years. In 1917 he was appointed an official war artist but because of his advanced years he was assigned to Woolwich Arsenal.

During the 1920s Clausen painted numerous landscapes around his country cottage on Dutton Hill, Essex. The success of his war commission led to several invitations to paint murals, notably Wycliffe's English Bible for the Houses of Parliament (1926), and upon completion of this project he was knighted. During the 1930s he continued to exhibit regularly at the Royal Academy and in his 88th year his My Back Garden (1940; London, Tate) was purchased for the Chantrey Bequest.

Bibliography
Sir George Clausen, RA, 1852–1944 (exh. cat. by K. McConkey, Bradford, Cartwright Hall; London, RA; Bristol, Mus. & A.G.; Newcastle upon Tyne, Laing A.G.; 1980)

KENNETH McCONKEY

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