The Artist's Sketch
A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark

By Carolyn J. Brown

224 pages (approx.), 9 x 9 inches, 222 b&w/color illustrations, appendix, bibliography, index

978-1-4968-1014-4 Cloth $35.00T

Cloth, $35.00

The unexpected story of a painter who flourished then withdrew and a small town's discovery of a treasure

Artist Kate Freeman Clark (1875-1957) left behind over one thousand paintings now stored at a gallery bearing her name in her hometown of Holly Springs, Mississippi. But it was not until after her death in 1957 at the age of eighty-one that citizens even discovered that she was a painter of considerable stature. In her will, Clark left the city her family home, her paintings stored at a warehouse in New York for over forty years, and money to build a gallery, much to the surprise of the Holly Springs community.

As a young woman, Clark studied art in New York and took classes with some of the greatest American artists of the day. From the start Clark approached the study of art with discipline and tenacity. She learned from William Merritt Chase when he opened his own school in 1895. For six consecutive summers at his Shinnecock Summer School of Art in Long Island, she mastered the plein air technique. Chase trained many female students, yet he recognized Clark as "his most talented pupil." The book prints, for the first time, excerpts from Clark's delightful journal of the artist's experience at Chase's school, giving readers firsthand reporting of an artist-led school in the early twentieth century.

Clark returned to Holly Springs in 1923. Mysteriously, sadly, she never resumed painting and lived the last ten years of her life in quietude. The Artist's Sketch shines a light on Clark, finally bringing her out of obscurity. This book also introduces Clark's art to a new generation of readers and highlights current projects and important work being done in Holly Springs by the Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery and the Marshall County Historical Museum, the two institutions that, since her death, have worked hard to keep Kate Freeman Clark's legacy alive.

Carolyn J. Brown, Jackson, Mississippi, is a writer, editor, and independent scholar. She is the author of two previous awardwinning biographies: A Daring Life: A Biography of Eudora Welty and Song of My Life: A Biography of Margaret Walker, both published by University Press of Mississippi. Find her at

224 pages (approx.), 9 x 9 inches, 222 b&w/color illustrations, appendix, bibliography, index