Photography Credit:

Charles Walter Clewell
Birth Date:
Death Date: 1965

Artist Gallery
Charles W. Clewell opened his studio in Canton, Ohio in 1906. His shop was small and he alone handled the entire operation, because he felt no one else could competently produce his art. As a result, Clewell’s technique was never taught to others and the secret died with him at the age of 89 in 1965. The blue patina Clewell was noted for was developed during the late 20s and early 30s. Clewell was fascinated by the natural corrosion that produced colorful patinas on ancient bronzes. And explained this fascination when he wrote “…the search for color in bronze has led me into many places, from the great museums to the yards of dealers in old metals. Any unusual bit of color may mean months of deeply interesting study and experiment. The blue bronze, which is quite rare in nature, is an example of this. At the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, I saw a small bronze wine jug in the J. Pierpont Morgan Memorial Collection. The bronze had been found at Boscoreale during the excavations which led to the finding of the famous silver treasure of the Louvre, and was accredited to the Romans and dated about 200 B.C. It was blue, a wonderful blue, varying from the very light tones through turquoise to almost black, with flecks of green and rust-like brown and spots of bare, darkened metal. A most beautiful object; I can easily believe it to be the world’s finest example of the blue bronze. Seeing this little jug cost me more than two years of experimenting and a number of trips to Hartford to compare results but finally the perfect blue appeared. It was a long hunt and particularly difficult; textbooks gave me no help. I have found no record of the production, except by nature, of the brilliant blue patina…”