The work of John Clem Clarke straddles pop art and appropriation. In his best known work of the1960s Clarke updated scenes from classical art with contemporary figures and settings. He also appropriated exact images, using sometimes second rate reproductions as his source material. Clarke was educated at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, and at Mexico City College in Mexico City, Mexico. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oregon in Eugene in 1960. Clarke is the exception that proves the rule about artists gaining recognition late in life. He went to New York City, started painting, and gained almost immediate notoriety. His series re-working the Old
Masters, such as Rembrandt’s Night Watch and Velasquez’s Las Meninas, are popular icons of the late 1960’s. These works now hang in major museums. His work fuses photo-realism techniques with Pop Art imagery.