Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Art and Art History

First Advisor

Kris Belden-Adams

Second Advisor

Louise Arizzoli

Third Advisor

Virginia Chavis

Relational Format



This paper explores the art of Holly Springs, Mississippi, painter Kate Freeman Clark, especially in association with the work of her teacher William Merritt Chase. Much of this paper is based on two extensive biographies: Cynthia Grant Tucker’s Kate Freeman Clark: A Painter Rediscovered, and Carolyn J. Brown’s The Artist’s Sketch: A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark. Using a number of object studies, this paper explores the development of Clark’s work under the tutelage of Chase, highlighting similarities and differences that lead to the conclusion that Clark had a very real talent that she seemed reluctant to claim. This reluctance is also explored by considering what it meant to be an upper-class, Southern female artist in the early-20th century. Thus, I seek to understand the pressures Clark faced as she balanced maintaining the correct level of respectability as a single woman with her desire to create and produce magnificent art. By surveying Clark’s privileged upbringing in Holly Springs, Mississippi and New York City, her artwork produced under the tutelage of William Merritt Chase, and her eventual return to Holly Springs, I seek to also understand why she ultimately gave up her craft.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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