Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Paintings of Claggett Wilson

Why am I so fascinated and admiring of Claggett Wilson, an artist, perhaps an obscure one, whose heyday lasted from the early part of the 20th century into the 1950's? I stumbled upon him while researching Swedish interiors, and fell in love with what I found.

Get it HERE

Claggett Wilson's Swedish design for Ten Chimneys

So I have picked out a few of his paintings and drawings for all of you to peruse and enjoy.
Claggett Wilson is my kind of Renaissance man.

Boudoir of Madame la Comtesse H...
by Claggett Wilson

Claggett Wilson was one of America's first "Modernist" painters. Early in his career (1915), he was a teacher of painting and drawing at Columbia University. Claggett Wilson was born in 1887 in Washington, DC, eventually made New York City his home. He died in 1n 1952.

In his teenage years he exercised his equestrian skills as a cowboy in Arizona...

... and in England riding to hounds.

After abandoning a short stay at Princeton University, he spent four years in Paris (1906-1910) honing is artistic skills which won him a place in the Paris Salon.

Broadway's acting team, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, engaged Claggett Wilson's talents in 1935 to design the costumes and sets for "The Taming of the Shrew."

In 1938 he began a two year project at the Lunt's home in Wisconsin, Ten Chimneys, painting murals throughout and contributing vastly to its interior design.

The dining room Claggett Wilson painted for the Lunts

Claggett Wilson painted this grand piano as well as the murals at Ten Chimneys -
this piano became known as The Noel Coward piano

Noel Coward was a great friend of the Lunts and spent much time at Ten Chimneys

Clagget Wilson painted these stunning figures
Julie are you loving this sconce?

When I saw the other work Claggett Wilson does, his paintings and sketches, I was so overwhelmed with emotion experiencing the incredible breadth of talent of this man.
Claggett Wilson’s sketchbooks are filled with colorful creations from all over the world.

He was a portraitist and a muralist. He also did a number of commercial illustrations for magazines, posters, and theater programs.
Matisse, upon seeing a mural-painted room designed by Claggett Wilson to exhibit an extensive art collection said, “It is perhaps the most ideal background for my paintings I have yet seen.”

Claggett Wilson was a designer and decorator, as well as a costume and set designer. You can read more about this HERE

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art own a number of Claggett Wilson’s paintings. I certainly wished I owned one!

See more of his fantastic work HERE

Claggett Wilson was also a war hero, and while serving made many sketches and paintings.

First Lieutenant Claggett Wilson, France 1918

Claggett Wilson served in World War One as Brigade HQ chief in the 2nd (Indian Head) Division and later, because he spoke fluent French, as aid-de-camp to Brigadier General Wendell Neville.

He was wounded twice and never shook the debilitating effects of mustard gas. He was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, the Croix de Guerre, and ended up with the maple leaf of a Major.

His war paintings (see Town & Country article) were bequeathed to the Smithsonian American Art Museum by Alice H. Rossin.

His highly acclaimed war paintings were recommended for the Nobel Prize.

You can see many more war paintings and sketches HERE

All material from


pve design said...

oh, I am in heaven. His work has an air of the good life. What a treat.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Gosh, such gorgeous work!! I must see more! Truly yummy post!

joanna said...

What a visual treat! thank you for posting "more" of his art work. I agree it would be wonderful to have a piece of one of his works.


Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

Incredible! So much talent in one man. That piano and those paintings on the walls have me drooling-so creative and beautiful! Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures. laurie

Renée Finberg said...

get out of town !!!!!

i love him !!

thanks for the turn on-
i love his style, it is so 'of the period'
and the murals are to die for.

i will doing more research, thanks for the links .
as usual, you are the best !

Paul Pincus said...

thank you for the intro!

great! ... just what i need ... another obsession : )

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for putting Clagget Wilson onto my radar screen. I'm loving what I see and will be investigating his web page (which you so kindly provided).