|Birth Date: 1881|
|Death Date: 1964
|Clara Louise Deike was born in Detroit in 1881, but grew up in Cleveland, attended high school here, and earned an associate degree in education from the Cleveland Normal School in 1901. In 1909, after several years of teaching elementary school in Ohio and Kentucky, she studied for a term at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The next fall, however, she shifted to the Cleveland School of Art, where she studied with Frederick Gottwald and Henry Keller.
There were not many career choices for a woman in the arts to support herself. After graduating from Cleveland School of Art, Deike taught art in the public schools for more than thirty years, retiring in 1945. She never married in fact in this period, women who taught school were not permitted to marry, and lost their jobs.
She worked alone – nine months out of the year she taught and painted a little, in the summers she would spend her time traveling, studying and painting. Her first solo exhibition in 1918 was at the Lakewood Public Library. Her reputation was largely a local one, although she did occasionally participate in group shows at the Kraushaar Gallery, NY.
From 1925 until 1927, Deike studied with the modernist Hans Hofmann and this became a turning point in her career. For the remainder of her career, Deike remained with the idiom she learned from Hofmann – that is she translated the world of appearances into cubist forms enlivened with Fauve color. Today, Clara Deike stands out as one of the handful of Cleveland artists, such as William Sommer, who advanced beyond skillful technique to embrace a modern expression.