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Rose Clark (1852-1942), Untitled II, undated; platinum print, Overall: 7 5/8 x 4 11/16 in. (19.4 x 11.9 cm); Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Miss Frances Hamill, 1981

Rose Clark (1852-1942), Untitled II, undated; platinum print, Overall: 7 5/8 x 4 11/16 in. (19.4 x 11.9 cm); Burchfield Penney Art Center, Gift of Miss Frances Hamill, 1981

Rose Clark, born Harriett Candace Clark in La Porte, Indiana, taught art at St. Margaret’s School in Buffalo in the late 19th century. Mabel Ganson was one of her students, and around 1904 the married Mabel Dodge asked Clark to design and restore her Villa Curonia near Florence, Italy. In addition to being a painter and educator, Clark was a pioneering woman photographer, who also collaborated with Elizabeth Flint Wade (1849-1915) from 1898 until 1910.  According to correspondence between Clark and Alfred Stieglitz, she often made the artistic decisions while Wade printed the negatives; although they both used the camera.

            Stieglitz selected Clark as one of ten prominent American pictorial photographers for publication in the October 1902 issue of Century Magazine. Upon seeing her work in the Photo-Secession exhibition at the Carnegie Gallery of Art in 1904, Sidney Allan, known as Sadakichi Hartmann, wrote: “The most successful portrait work (next to Steichen’s, of course) is furnished by Rose Clark. She must be a close student of painting, all her work, without losing its individuality, is reminiscent of good examples of pictorial art.” He also remarked that her portraits “possess a refinement and vague old-master-like charm that is exquisite….”