Alling MacKaye Clements (1891 – 1957), American
Pier Scene, Ogunquit, Maine, undated
oil on board, 16 in. x 19 ¾ in.
(framed dimensions: 23 in. x 27 in.)
signed lower right: “Alling Mackaye Clements”
This painting is a pleasing American Impressionist depiction of fish houses resting on pilings alongside a coastal New England inlet. I suspect the location to be Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine. At that time, Perkins Cove was just a collection of fishing shacks and wharves which are gone today.
The artist’s contrasting use of shade and light, as seen in the darker shadows under the weathered shacks, the bright yellow-greens of the marshy grasses that glow between the dock pilings, the warmish gray-blue tones of the sky, the mellow blue-greens of the distant tree line and the vivid greens in the foreground, all work together to evoke a hazy, warm, mid-day summer scene.
Alling Clements was born in Rochester, New York in 1891. He graduated from East High School in 1908 and from Mechanics Institute (later known as the Rochester Institute of Technology or RIT) in 1911 with a degree in art. He then moved to New York City where he studies at the Art Students League from 1912 to 1914. After completing his studies, Clements obtained work painting theatrical scenery in the city and freelance commercial work. With the outbreak of World War I, he joined the U.S. Navy. After the war, he was hired by the RIT to teach art in 1921. Clements was the Director of Painting Techniques at the school for some 35 years, retiring in 1956. During his career at RIT he influenced several generations of Rochester artists.
During the summer months, Clements traveled and continued his own artistic study. He went to Europe in 1926 and spent other summers in Maine, in Woodstock, N.Y., in Canada or at other scenic locations. Clements was known to have spent time in Ogunquit studying with Charles Woodbury, who taught for 36 years at his “Ogunquit Summer School of Drawing and Painting”. The school’s success secured Ogunquit’s reputation as one of America’s preeminent summer art colonies. In fact, Woodbury’s first painting in Ogunquit was of the wharves on the banks of the Ogunquit River.
Clements maintained close friendships with the artists Carl Peters and James Havens. In particular, he became best friends with Havens and the two men often painted together at least once a week on various outings.
The artist died unexpectedly at the age of 65 after a heart attack, survived by his wife Jean (Kendrick) Clements and a son, Kendrick. After Clements’ death, his close friend and fellow painter Havens lamented “Half of me is gone”.
Alling Clements was very influential within the Rochester artistic community. He was a member and past president of the Rochester Art Club, was one of the twenty-two founding members of the Print Club of Rochester – initially serving as its treasurer and then for many years as director. He was a member of the Genesee Painting Group, Memorial Art Gallery, American Legion, Museum of Arts and Sciences. He was an elected Associate Member at the National Academy of Design, the Society of American Graphic Artists and the American Watercolor Society.
His works are in many public and private collections and museums, including: The Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, the Albright Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY), the Pasadena Art Museum and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
The painting is in excellent condition. The paint surface is clean, the colors vibrant and there is no craquelure or paint loss present. Likewise, there are no repairs or inpainting present. The frame is a carved and gilt Arts and Crafts style with a few scattered nicks and minor losses of the gold leaf – the most noticeable being on the right stile.
Alling MacKaye Clements, Pier Scene, Ogunquit, Maine, oil on board