In 1970, Clarence Hotvedt wrote an autobiography (unpublished) for his family and relatives. Those writing are the basis of his story on this website. While he wrote extensively of his childhood years growing up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, this site is dedicated to his adult life and professional career. In bringing his story to life, I have included photos, examples of his artwork, and miscellaneous articles.
Unfortunately, he skimmed over a few topics that readers may wish had been covered in more detail. In particular, the Prairie Print Makers. However, a section on that group has been included.
Also unfortunate is that he never wrote about his later years. His granddaughter often encouraged him to do so, but she has said he lost interest in continuing.
Minor liberties have been taken in presenting his writings. Some editing was done to keep events in a more chronological order as he occasionally drifted off topic. Readers will notice he wasn’t much concerned with punctuation. This was left ‘as is’ to maintain the integrity of his writings.
I’d like to thank the many relatives who contributed pictures of their prints, paintings, and miscellaneous items relating to Clarence’s life and career. While no catalog of his artwork has been located, every effort was made to find and include as many examples of his work as possible. Unlike prints, which were done in a series of up to 50 each, paintings are one of a kind and were next to impossible to find. No examples of his commercial artwork could be located; it’s believed most of those materials were discarded after his death. It’s unlikely that the full scope of his work will ever be known.
And a special thanks to the publications who granted permission to reproduce their articles.
It is my hope that this project will, in some small way, help preserve the legacy of my great-uncle Clarence, as well as those friends and co-workers who shared his passion for art.
- Steve Hotvedt, October, 2020
Clarence Hotvedt was born in 1900 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the seventh of ten children. His first documented effort as an artist came in high school when he states in his autobiography, “I did cartoons for the high school annual and in my senior year I was editor of the annual.” After graduating from high school he enrolled at the University of Minnesota with the intention of studying architecture. After depleting his savings the first year he decided he was more interested in art and the following year enrolled at the Chicago Art Institute.
After graduation, during a chance street encounter with Edmund Kopietz, who also had attended the Art Institute, Clarence learned that Western Lithograph in Wichita had a position open. He applied for the job, was hired and began work in January of 1924. It was in Wichita that he would help found the Prairie Print Makers in 1930.
When he first came to Wichita he joined an art sketch class at the Wichita Art Association and soon became their first paid teacher. He taught the life drawing classes until he left Wichita to pursue employment in Fort Worth. During the years between 1924 and 1936, while in Wichita and then Fort Worth, he created almost three quarters of his approximately 40 prints.
Over the years he would work in Texas, New York City and then Providence, Rhode Island until he returned to Wichita in 1946 as the Director of the Art Department at Western Lithograph. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1969. Upon his return to Wichita he again took an active interest in the Wichita Art Association and the Wichita Artist’s Guild.
Clarence worked in several mediums including watercolors, oils, and drawings but is most recognized for his printmaking. The printmaking included block prints, etchings, drypoints, aquatint and lithographs. Although he numbered his editions at 50, he seldom completed an entire edition. Many of his prints were traded or gifted to friends; other artists and printmakers.
During retirement Clarence renewed his interest in printmaking, focusing on lithographs and etchings. During this time he created lithographs depicting several historic Wichita buildings. The primary subject for all of his work was the Midwest. A lengthy vacation to Texas and part of Mexico in 1934, and his time in Rhode Island, also inspired some of his prints and paintings.
He remained in Wichita until his death in 1991.