A Finding Aid to the Clawson Hammitt photograph
Helen Farr Sloan Library, Delaware Art Museum
Accessioned: Gift of Helen Griffith
Extent: 1 photograph
Processed: Sarena Fletcher, 2005
Helen Farr Sloan Library
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway
Wilmington, DE 19806
BIOGRAPHY OF CLAWSON HAMMITT
Clawson Hammitt was a leading figure in Wilmington?s artistic community during the four decades spanning the turn of the century. He was highly esteemed as an art educator and well-respected as a painter.
The son of Letitia Harris and Edmund Marshall Hammitt, Clawson was born on November 7, 1857, in Wilmington, Delaware. His parents endeavored unsuccessfully to interest him in a business career; the boy would have none of it. While attending the Wilmington public schools, he managed to pick up some art instruction from a local clergyman, A. T. Scott. A Wilmington jeweler, C. F. Rudolph, made it possible for Hammitt to spend time in the studio of the marine painter James Hamilton above the store. Henry Tatnall of Wilmington helped Hammitt to spend an entire summer sketching and become an established member of the Wilmington art scene. Later, Hammitt studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Among his teachers were Thomas Anshutz, Thomas Eakins and Bernhard Uhle.
In 1890 he further expanded his horizons with study in Paris at the Acad?mie Julian, where his teachers were Jules LeFebvre and Benjamin Constant. His study in Europe was extended by travel until 1893. Another year was spent in New York City studying with William Merritt Chase, then Hammitt settled down permanently in Wilmington.
In 1882 Hammitt opened what is said to be the first school of art in the state of Delaware and ran it for over thirty years, always filled to capacity. It was called the Delaware School of Art from 1883 to 1890 and then became (interchangeably) Clawson S. Hammitt?s School of Art or the C. S. Hammitt School of Art. Hammitt?s school was located in the Institute Building at the northwest corner of Eighth and Market Streets in downtown Wilmington, housed with the public library of the city.
Related to the school was the first artists? group in Delaware, the Society of Artists of the State of Delaware, founded in 1884 at Hammitt?s studio. This apparently developed from the Association of the Delaware School of Art, which Hammitt had created earlier that same year for his students.
Hammitt taught for twenty-six years beginning in the 1880s, at Friends School in Wilmington and at various other public and private schools in the city. He eventually retired from teaching to paint full-time.
Hammitt was a member of the Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the National Federation of Arts. He exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Sketch Club, and in the Delaware Building of the 1893 World?s Fair in Chicago.
Hammitt married Jane Goessling in 1914. After a lingering illness that lasted for three years, Hammitt died on July 28, 1927.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PHOTOGRAPH
Portrait of Clawson Hammitt, no date. 23.5 x 18.0 cm.
© Delaware Art Museum