Called the “painter laureate of the car”, Cleworth original paintings grace the homes, garages and offices of car collectors and celebrities alike. Among his list of clients are such people as Jay Leno and Nicolas Cage. John Schneider, the original “Dukes of Hazzard” Bo Duke, owns a stunning portrait of a Lamborghini Countach by Cleworth and automotive icon John DeLorean once commissioned a Cleworth original as a gift for his former wife Christina Ferrari.
Of English descent, Harold James Cleworth wasn’t always a painter of cars. Born in Leigh, Lancaster, in the industrial area of northern England, Cleworth grew up drawing and painting the heavy machinery and industrial neighborhoods of England. Because of his impressive work, he was accepted at the famous Manchester College of Art.
This path led to the first of Cleworth’s amazing careers. After his graduation from Manchester, Cleworth worked for Decca Records. His artwork graced the covers of such newcomers as the Rolling Stones, The Who and others. For many people, this would be the pinnacle of a successful career; well Cleworth isn’t ordinary and neither is his career!
Following a chance meeting with some Americans in London, Cleworth decided to change course and go to America to follow his lifelong passion for automobiles. Harold moved to San Francisco and began a new career as an automobile artist. In the beginning, traded his artwork for rent; his landlord valued one of his early pieces highly enough that she accepted it in exchange for an entire year’s lodging!
When San Francisco car dealer Richard Rubin commissioned the now famous Mercedes Gullwing, with signature gull wing doors wide open, Cleworth original art would never be the same. Soon after, private collectors around the world wanted Cleworth originals. Commissions to paint exacting portraits followed: Duesenbergs, Ferraris, Packards and Bugattis. Corporate commissions were next, with requests from automotive giants such as Chevrolet, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Isuzu and Saab. Each of these companies wanted Cleworth originals of their newest models.
For Cleworth, second career, second success. But this one would be special; his trademark techniques of “super-realism” give Cleworth originals a photo-like quality. This signature style has grown from not only including oil paintings, but lithographs, posters and Giclées as well. Because of his world-wide fame, Cleworth originals are rarely on the open market and when sold, garner incredible sums of money.
It is not uncommon to find Harold Cleworth Originals selling for $25,000 to $100,000 in Fine Art Galleries