About the artist:
Clara (Louise) Tice was born in Elmira, New York in May 1888. Only a few years later her parents, Benjamin and Mary Eckenberger Tice, moved with her and her siblings, Sarah and Clifford, to New York City where her father had found a new job as superintendent for the Children's Aid Society. In this city Clara Tice spent most of her life. It took her only a short time until she and her art came to the attention of the city's inhabitants. In March 1915 the headline "Comstock Ban Brings Art Buyer" sparked the interest of the New York Tribune's readership. The accompanying article described how the anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock had visited Polly's, a well-known restaurant in bohemian Greenwich Village, and decided that some of Tice's works of art which were exhibited there were indecent and had to be removed. Before he was able to take any further action one of the diners bought the pictures and thus saved them. This was only the first occasion when Comstock tried to confiscate Tice's art - many others were to follow. Her art was the perfect target for him since her favorite subject were female nudes which she portrayed perfectly in oil as well as with just a few fast lines in her drawings. Even before the incident at Polly's Tice's art could be seen in public and was known among artists. Together with her mentor Robert Henri and other artists she had organized and participated in the First Independents Exhibition (1910). Although this show was a success for her - she sold some of her works of art - it took a few more years until her fame skyrocketed thanks to Anthony Comstock. From then on she and her pictures were familiar sights in New York City. Clara Tice had several one-man exhibitions in Manhattan, for example, at Bruno's Garret (1915), the Anderson Galleries (1922) and the Schwartz Galleries (1934). Her drawings could also be seen in numerous magazines - Vanity Fair, Rogue, Cartoons Magazine, The Quill, Greenwich Village and Bruno's Weekly - just to mention a few. She also designed theater curtains, menus, murals, posters and invitation cards for costume balls and worked on many other objects. Beginning in 1920 she started to illustrate books. Many of these were published by the Pierre Louÿs Society - a private society to avoid censorship. It was not only Tice's art that could be seen in magazines at that time but also images of herself. This occurred because she was seen as one of the important personalities of downtown bohemia and even called the "Queen of Greenwich Village." Clara Tice was not only part of this scene but just like the artists Marcel Duchamp and Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven also belonged to the Arensberg Circle. This salon was an important part of New York Dada and was frequented by artists such as John Covert, Man Ray, Henri-Pierre Roché, the Stettheimer Sisters and Beatrice Wood. Bohemian Greenwich Village and New York Dada were connected in the way that they both questioned society's and art's rigid norms and tried to change them. World War I and the Depression influenced not only everyday life, but also inflicted Tice's work and art. The demand for lavishly illustrated books decreased and it became more difficult to sell works of art. Besides several minor projects Clara Tice's greatest success after the war was the publication of ABC Dogs. It is an alphabet book in which each of the twenty-six letters are presented by an illustration of a dog whose name begins with this specific letter. Every dog picture is accompanied by a short, witty text written by Tice. Although this book once again brought her public recognition it did not take long before she was forgotten by the art community. She spent the last two decades of her life in a small apartment in Queens - creating art and taking care of the animals she loved so dearly. Unfortunately, life was quite challenging for Clara Tice later on. Both of her hands were afflicted by arthritis, she also suffered from incurable glaucoma and as a result was blind for the last years of her life before she died on February 2, 1973.