About Manon Cleary (1942 – 2011)

She was “widely acknowledged to be among the best, if not the best, of the city’s figurative painters,” Washington Post critic Michael O’Sullivan wrote in 2006. “There is a tension between the cool, clinical detachment of photography and painting’s warm idealization of form.”

Matt Schudel, The Washington Post

Manon Cleary’s paintings and drawings are often based on photographs she has taken. Her paintings and graphite almost appear quite photo-realistic. Whether capturing a detail of a budding orchid or the movement of human form, Cleary has the ability to render every strand of hair, emotional feeling, and flicker of light. She was awarded the 14th Annual Mayor’s Art Award, for Sustained Excellence in an Artistic Discipline in Washington, DC, in 1999. Her work is included in such museum collections as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Chicago Art Institute, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Brooklyn Museum, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Manon Cleary
Photo: © Paul Feinberg

1964 B.F.A., Washington University, St. Louis, MO

1968 M.F.A., Tyler School of Art, Temple University, (Painting with a minor in printmaking) Philadelphia, PA (First year of study: Tyler in Rome, Italy)

2014 Arts Club of Washington, Manon Cleary — Obsessive Observer: A New Perspective Through Her Photographic Studies; curated by Jack Rasmussen, conceptualized and produced by F. Steven Kijek

2012 39th Street Gallery, Brentwood, MD, Creating a Legacy: Paintings and Drawings by Manon Cleary; curated by John Paradiso and F.Steven Kijek.

2009 Addison/Ripley Fine Art, Washington, DC, Manon Cleary: New Pastels.

2007 DCAC, District of Columbia Arts Center, Washington, DC, Herb’s Choice: Manon Cleary: Skyscapes; curated by Lea-Ann Bigelow.

2006 WAM at Emerson Gallery, Washington, DC, Manon Cleary: A Thirty-six Year Retrospective; curated by Jean Lawlor Cohen.

2005 Waddle Gallery, Northern Virginia Community College, Loudon Campus, Sterling, VA, Manon Cleary: Drawings.

2000 PASS, Washington, DC, Self Portraits: Breathless.

1999 Addison/Ripley Gallery, Washington, DC, Exotic Bloom Series.

1998 Abraham Lubelski Gallery, New York, NY, Manon Cleary and the Villa Of Mysteries; curated by Lee Klein.

1997 Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD, The Body in Question; curated by Lee Fleming.

1996 Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Art Sites 96.

1994 Addison/Ripley Gallery, Washington, DC, Movement Series.

1991 J. Rosenthal Gallery, Chicago, IL, Mystery Series.

1989 Osuna Gallery, Mystery Series, Washington, DC.

1987 Tyler Gallery, State University of New York at Oswego, NY, Manon Cleary.

1987 University of the District of Columbia, Pastel Sky Scapes, Washington, DC.

1985 Gulbenkian Foundation: Centro de Arte Moderna, Lisbon, Portugal, Ten Year Retrospective.

1984 FIAC, Grand Palais, Paris, France.

1982 Iolas/Jackson Gallery, New York, NY.

1981 FIAC, Grand Palais, Paris, France.

1979 A.J. Wood Gallery, Philadelphia, PA.

1972 Franz Bader Gallery, Washington, DC.

2013 American University Museum, Washington, DC, Washington Art Matters: 1940’s-1980’s; curated by Sidney Lawrence, Elizabeth Tebow and Jean Lawlor Cohen.

2012 American University Museum, Washington, DC, The Constant Artist; curated by Jack Rasmussen and Paul Feinberg.

2010 American University Museum, Washington, DC, Catalyst: 35 Years of the Washington Project For The Arts; curated by JW Mahoney.

2008 Kalamazoo Institute of Art Museum, MI, The Figure Revealed: Contemporary American Figure Painting and Drawings; curated by Deneise Lisiecke.

2008 John A. Wilson Building City Art Collection, Washington, DC, Heart of DC: Building The Collection; curated by Sondra Arkin.

2008 WAM at Pepco’s Emerson Gallery, Washington, DC, Herb White: A Taste For Art; curated By Sarah Tanguy

2008 Bayley Museum, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, Masquerade.

2005-07 Through Exhibits USA and The Mid Atlantic Art Alliance, Traveling to: Masur Museum, Monroe, CA; Wayne Stark University Center Galleries, College Station, TX; Perspective Gallery, Blacksburg, VA; Museum of Texas Tec University, Lubbock, TX; California State University Dominguez Hill, Carson, CA; By Any Means: Works From The National Drawing Invitatationals; curated By Donald Perry.

2006 Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC, A Mint Menagerie: Critters From The Collection. 

2005 Warehouse Gallery Through WPA/Corcoran, Washington, DC, Seven; curated By F. Lennox Campello. 

2002 Arts Club of Washington, Summer Member’s Exhibition, Washington, DC.

2001 City of Baltimore, MD, Fish Out of Water; collaboration with F. Steven Kijek.

2001  National Museum of Women in The Arts, Washington, DC, Gardener’s Delight.

1999-00 The Art institute of Chicago, IL, Contemporary American Realist Drawings.

Alternative Museum, New York, NY

American Cultural Center, Bucharest, Hungary 

American House, Berlin, Germany

Århus Kunst Museum, Århus, Denmark

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AK

Asbæk Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark

Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL

Boise State University, Boise, ID

Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY

Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, San Diego, CA

Galerie Asbæk, Copenhagen, Denmark

George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

George Washington University, Washington, DC

Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Herning Højskole, Herning, Denmark

Holter Museum, Helena, MT

Holtzman Gallery, Towson University, MD

Huntsville Museum, Huntsville, AL

Institute of Contemporary Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Instituto de Cultura Hispanica, Madrid, Spain

Jane Haslem Gallery, Washington, DC

Kasteev State Art Museum, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Malmo Kunsthall, Malmo, Sweden

Metropolitan Museum and Art Center, Miami, FL

Most Gallery, Almaty, Kazakhstan

Museum Nacional de Soares Dos Reis, Oporto, Portugal

Museum of Contemporary Art, Finland

The National Academy of Design, New York, NY

National Museum of Fine Arts, Valetta, Malta

National Society of Fine Arts, Lisbon, Portugal

Oklahoma Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, OK

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Pyramid Gallery, Washington, DC

Rosenberg Gallery, Goucher College, Towson, MD

Squires Gallery, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA

The State Art Museum, Karaganda, Kazakhstan

Taft Museum, Cincinnati, OH

Terra Museum of American Art, Evanston, IL

Toledo Museum of Art, OH

Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

Washington Project For The Arts, Washington, DC

Pratt Graphic Center, New York City, NY

The Fort Worth Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX

Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA

Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

1997 Bridge Association, Tien Shan Mountains, Kazakhstan. 

1996 Bridge Association, Tau Turgeon Valley, Kazakhstan.

1984 Ucross Foundation, Ucross, WY

1980 Herning Hojskøle, Herning, Denmark

Jonathan Burt, Rat, UK: Reaktion Books, 2006. 

Nancy Heller, Women Artists: Works From The National Museum of Women in the Arts, New York: Rizzoli, 2000. 

Clint Brown, Cheryl McLean, Harcourt Brace Jovanovick, Drawing from Life: Second Edition, College Publishers, Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc., 1997. 

François Nourissier, Roman vole, Paris: Grasset, 1996. 

Nigel Hinshelwood, Membrane: Spring 1995, Membrane, (cover and p. 68-73).

Paul Cummings, Dictionary of Contemporary American Artists: Sixth Edition, St. Martin’s Press, 1994, (p. 179).

Clint Brown, Cheryl McLean, Harcourt Brace Jovanovick, Drawing from Life, College Publishers, Holt, Rinehart and Winston Inc., 1992.

Deborah Curtiss, Introduction to Visual Literacy: A Guide to the Visual Arts and Communication, Prentice Hall, Inc., 1986 (p. 108).

Nathan Goldstein, 100 American and European Drawings: A Portfolio, Prentice-Hall, 1982.

Frank Goodyear, Jr., Contemporary American Realism Since 1960, Boston (New York Graphic Society), 1980 (pp. 79 and 193).

Mary Sayre Haverstock, An American Bestiary, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1979 (pp. 224 and 225).

Ruth E. Fine, Ray Hernandez-Duran, and Mark Pascale, Contemporary American Realist Drawings: The Jalane and Richard Davidson Collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, Hudson Hills, 1999.

Art Sites 96 through Washington Review Magazine, Corcoran Gallery of Art,1996.

Karen W. Valdes and Paul Cummings, Divergent Styles: Contemporary American Drawing, University Gallery, University of Florida, 1990.

Mary Jane Pagan, Approaching the Figure: Part I, Georgetown University, 1989.

Jock Reynolds, Recollections: Washington Artists at W.P.A., 1975-88, Washington Project for the Arts, 1988.

Jose Sommer Ribeiro and Lee Fleming, Pintura e Desehno de Manon Cleary, Centro de Arte Moderna, Gulbenkian Foundation, 1985.

Paul Cummings, Twentieth-Century American Drawings: The Figure in Context, by International Exhibitions Foundation, 1984.

Frank Goodyear, Perspective on Contemporary American Realism: Works of Art on Paper from the Collection of Jalane and Richard Davidson, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1982.

Edward J. Nygren, The Human Form: Contemporary American Figure Drawing in the Academic Tradition, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1980.

Nina Felshin, Metarealities, Washington Project for the Arts, 1980.

Clair List, Images of the 70’s: 9 Washington Artists, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1980.

Julia Boyd, A New Bestiary: Animal Imagery in Contemporary Art, The Institute of Contemporary Art of the Virginia Museum, 1980. 

John Perreault, Selected 20th Century American Nudes, Harold Reed Gallery, 1978.

Jane Livingston and Charlotte Christensen, Ung Kunst Fra USA, Århus Kunst Museum, ICA, 1976.

Manon Cleary: The Body in Question, Maryland Art Place, 1997.

Leslie Landsman, Patricia Venturino, and James Durham, Fish Out of Water: Baltimore’s Fin-Tastic Voyage, Orange Frazer Press, 2001.

American Embassy, Lima, Peru

Bayley Museum, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 

Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY

Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, IL

City of Kirkwood, Kirkwood, MO

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Dimock Gallery, George Washington University, Washington, DC 

Hickory Museum, Hickory, NC

Kasteev State Art Museum, Almay, Kazakhstan

Marietta Cobb Museum, Marietta, GA

Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC

National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC

Norman Eppink Gallery,  Emporia State University, Emporia, KS

Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ

The Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

Ponce Museum, Ponce, Puerto Rico

Rutgers’ University, Camden, NJ

Southwestern Bell Corporation, Texas

State Fine Arts Museum of Alma-Ata, Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan

Stevens Corporation, Little Rock, AK

The University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC

Ucross Foundation, Ucross, WY

Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT

Photo Gallery