Born on June 19, 1880, in Auburn, California
Died on July 20, 1960, in Santa Barbara, California
Clarence Keiser Hinkle was born on June 19, 1880, in Auburn, California. His parents were Amos H. Hinkle, a carriage designer, and Roberta Keiser Hinkle. When he was a young child, Clarence was kicked in the head by a horse. This injury left a deep, life-long scar on his forehead.
Hinkle studied art under William F. Jackson (1850-1936) at the Crocker Art Gallery School in Sacramento. Thereafter, he studied with Arthur F. Mathews (1860-1945) at the San Francisco Art Association, and with William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) and John Twachtman (1853-1902) at the Art Students League in New York City.
In 1904, he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In 1906, he won the prestigious Cresson Traveling Scholarship at the Pennsylvania Academy, an award which allowed him to spend six years in Europe, studying in Holland and France. Upon his return, he moved to San Francisco in 1913, and began to exhibit in local Bay Area shows. Hinkle’s early work is strongly influenced by Post-Impressionism and Pointillism. Later, his style was considered avant-garde and audacious, favoring elements of Modernism and Cubism.
In 1917, he moved to Los Angeles and taught at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design. While teaching there, Hinkle met a young student from Canada, Mabel Hunter Bain, who had arrived in Los Angeles to study art and photography. They were married on June 8, 1921, in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles School of Art and Design closed in 1921. Fortunately, the Chouinard School of Art opened that same year and Hinkle was among the first instructors hired.
In 1921, he was a founding member of the Group of Eight, a loose association of modernist and progressive artists who exhibited together. In addition to Hinkle, the Group consisted of Mabel Alvarez (1891-1985), Henri De Kruif (1882-1944), John Hubbard Rich (1876-1954), Donna Schuster (1883-1953), E. Roscoe Shrader (1878-1960), Edouard Vysekal (1890-1939), and his wife Luvena Buchanan Vysekal (1873-1954). The Group of Eight peaked in 1927, with an exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art. It dissolved the following year.
He visited Rockport, Massachusetts in 1930 and painted several views of the harbor. By the early 1930s, Hinkle was living in Laguna Beach and continuing his teaching in Los Angeles. In 1935, he moved to Santa Barbara, where he built a home overlooking the harbor. He remained in Santa Barbara and was an active, well respected member of the local art community. Clarence Hinkle died on July 20, 1960, at the age of eighty, and was buried in Santa Barbara Cemetery.
Written by (Mr.) Jean Stern
Senior Curator of California Impressionism
The Institute and Museum for California Art
University of California, Irvine