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  Clement (“Clem”) Haupers. Untitled Landscape, c. 1940.
Clem Haupers, Untitled
A Bold Modernist Interpretation
of the Minnesota Countryside

Clement (“Clem”) Haupers. Untitled Landscape, c. 1940. Oil on board. Unsigned. Image: 17 3/4 x 19 1/4". Frame: 23 x 23 1/4". Excellent condition in gold-toned frame.

Noted Minnesota artist Clem Haupers (1900–1982) is today recognized for his facility with color, a reputation that was perpetuated in the work of his most famous student, the flamboyant colorist LeRoy Neiman. Although Haupers never reached the level of recognition that Neiman achieved in the 1970s, he nonetheless built a solid reputation as one of the premier landscape painters of his home state.

The present work by Haupers depicts a vivid patchwork of Minnesota fields beneath enormous waves of puffy lavender clouds. Haupers’ application of a high-keyed palette strengthened by bold and often unblended color suggests the influence of van Gogh and the later European Modernists. While his use of color does not quite reach the extremes of his European predecessors, it is certainly playful, as for example, in his introduction of surprising small touches of pink, salmon, and bright red into a landscape mostly defined in greens, blues, and amber.

Haupers studied in Paris with the Cubist painter André Llote, who adhered to certain radical tenets of Cubism while refusing to break entirely with traditional vision, maintaining instead the intelligibility of the subjects he painted. Haupers seems to have adopted aspects of Llote’s approach. He builds his compositions on geometry but does not fracture the object into interpenetrating planes.

Upon completing his studies in France, Haupers returned to Minnesota where he became an influential teacher at the St. Paul School of Art, specializing in several media including painting, printmaking, and sculpture. He rose to prominence in 1935 as the state and regional director of the New Deal’s Federal Art Project in Minnesota, which helped to restimulated the flagging art communities of the Twin Cities by hiring unemployed artists to decorate public buildings and parks.

Overall, the painting offered here is a nicely representative example of Hauper’s ability to blend Minnesota regionalism with French early-twentieth-century modernism.

Ref.: An Artist’s Paradise, exhibition at the Minnesota Museum of American Art,

Copyright 2003, William R. Talbot