Although Donald Clapper grew up in the Northeast, home of many
great American Still Life and Trompe l'Oeil Masters, this
coincidence did not influence his attraction to the world of
art. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a
B.A. Degree in 1983, Clapper began a successful real estate
career in Florida and his hobby interests at that time were in
competitive golf and skiing.
Unbeknownst to him, an unplanned stop to the High
Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia in the late 1980's became the
momentum that drew him to Trompe l'Oeil and Classical Realism
after he saw an original William Harnett painting. He marveled
at Harnett's ability to create both unbelievable detail and
illusionary dimension and began a personal study on the Old
Masters Dutch still life painters and on the American Trompe
l'Oeil School of painters of the late 1800's, specifically,
William M. Harnett, John Haberle and John Peto.
Clapper's painting developed during the 1980-90's while
he lived and worked in Gainesville, Florida. It was during this
season, he developed his own techniques and proficiency as he
applied the Old Masters' methods of indirect lighting,
shadowing, glazing and multi dimensional affects to the canvas.
After a period of painting still life's, Clapper
completed series of trompe l'oeil paintings that pays homage to
the pioneers of American trompe l'oeil such as Harnett and Peto.
In 1994, he relocated to Arizona where he still abides and works
in his Scottsdale studio. Clapper's study focused once again to
the genre of trompe l'oeil including this time some modern day
masters, namely Ken Davies, Gary Erbe and David Brega.
In April of 2004, Clapper co-founded the International
Guild of Realism, an exclusive group of today's finest realist
painters dedicated to the genre of classical and contemporary
realism. Clapper is also the president of the Trompe l'Oeil
Society of Artists, an exclusive group of today's finest trompe
In 2008, Clapper launched a new figurative style called
"Dramatic Realism". These new figure paintings represent a new
style that illuminates the figure in a different and exciting
way with multiple light sources with color splashes penetrating
the composition. This dramatic colorful lighting creates drama
and mystery to the figure. This new style combines everything
that the artist enjoys in quality painting such as dramatic
lighting, interesting composition, skillful technique and a
unique blend of exciting color. These figure paintings by
Clapper are still executed in the same skillful and academic
manner that Clapper has been recognized throughout the country
for his award winning and museum quality still life and trompe
"My new figurative style is influenced by different art
movements throughout history. I use glazing and careful blending
of paint that the Dutch still life masters perfected. The
compositions at times give homage to the great figure painters
of the past like Bouguereau, Sargent, Gerome and Alma-Tadema.
Dramatic lighting and extreme colors create a contemporary and
fresh look that bring the paintings into the 21st century."
Clapper's work has received national as well as
international recognition. He has received numerous articles in
such publications as International
Artist Magazine, American Art Review, American Art Collector
Magazine and Art
News. His work has been featured in many museums across the
nation including The Phoenix Art Museum, The Woodson Art Museum
in Wausau, Wisconsin and The Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe,
New Mexico. He has exhibited in top level galleries across the
country in New York City, Dallas, Santa Fe, LA and Naples, FL.