A Bold Modernist
of the Minnesota Countryside
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
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
Ref.: An Artist’s
, exhibition at the Minnesota Museum of American Art,