John Clymer

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John Clymer

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b. 1901 d.1989
A student at the Howard Pyle School in Wilmington, Delaware, John Clymer was strongly influenced by N.C. Wyeth in illustration and became a noted painter of animals and western history. His first illustrations were for Canadian publications, and then he illustrated for pulp magazines and novels, which led to assignments with American magazines and advertising companies. He did a series of historic paintings about the United States Marine Corps during World War II. His illustration career continued for over forty years and included work for Field and Stream and Saturday Evening Post for which he did about ninety covers. Also, he illustrated the book, The Yearling.

Affiliations included the National Academy of Western Art*, Salmagundi Club* and the Society of Animal Artists*, and the Cowboy Artists of America*. In the CAA annual exhibitions, he earned an Oil Painting Award, Gold, 1970, 1972, 1975 and Silver, 1969, 1976, 1981; Drawing Award, Gold, 1974, 1976, 1977; and the Kieckhefer Award: Best of Show, 1975 and 1979. In 1979, he also received a Special Award of Merit.

John Clymer was born in Ellensburg, Washington and had an early desire to live in wilderness mountain areas and pursue a career in forestry, something his parents did not understand. He decided that if he could paint pictures, he could live anywhere he wanted, so at age 13, he enrolled in a correspondence course and then sold two drawings to Colt Firearms.

After high school graduation, he attended the Vancouver School of Fine Art and the Ontario College of Art in Port Hope, Canada. Living in Canada, he did magazine illustration but left in 1930 to attend the Old Howard Pyle School in Wilmington, Delaware. There he worked with N.C. Wyeth and then returned to Canada and was elected an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art. He also studied with Fred Varley and J.W. Beaty and traveled extensively in Canada, Alaska and the Yukon.

In 1936, Clymer moved to Westport, Connecticut and studied with Harvey Dunn in New York City as well as at the Grand Central School of Art. He later painted with Tom Lovell and joined the Marines with him during World War II.

In 1964, he began fine art painting full time, and achieved much recognition and fame as a chronicler of the Northwestern Indians of whom he did many sketches and took photographs before doing the final work.

With his historian, he traveled the Northwest to research a history filled with noted persons such as the Nez Perce Indians, Chief Joseph, Sacajawea, Lewis and Clark, Indians, Fur Traders and Trappers.

From the archive of AskART