James Clark Work was born September 12, 1908 in Dunbar, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. His father, John Work, was born in 1864 in the same town. His mother, Annie E. Phillips, was born in 1865 in PA. His parents married on October 23, 1902, and had three children, Sarah (b.1902 - d.1903), Mabel (b.1906), and James (b.1908). He was named after his illustrious uncle, Judge James Clark Work (1859-1926), who presided over the Orphan's Court of Fayette County for many years.
The father ran a 224-acre farm in Fayette County, PA, which was inherited from the grandfather. The family property also included considerable coal mining field.
On December 23, 1915 his father died at the age of fifty-one. After this tragic death the widowed mother contracted another farmer to run the farm, and then moved the family into town, where she raised her two children in prosperity at 52 Highland Avenue in Uniontown, PA.
In June of 1926 James Clark Work graduated from Uniontown High School, after which he attended Penn State College.
In June of 1930 he graduated from Penn State, after which he moved to Chicago to study at the Art Institute of Chicago.
While a student in Chicago he met Bernice Blackwood, whose parents were active in the Chicago advertising industry.
In 1936 he moved to New York City to study at the Art Student's League.
Between 1936 and 1938 he exhibited in NYC art galleries.
On October 21, 1939 he married Bernice Blackwood. She was born in 1914 in Joliet, Illinois and had completed the second year of college at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She had attended the Starret School for Girls in Chicago. Her mother's second husband, Worthe Faulkner (1889-1959), was a famous stage actor. Her mother and step-father were involved in a variety of enterprises, including a NYC dressmaking company, Mainbocher Inc., which designed and manufactured the official Girl Scout Uniform. Her mother was also the President of the Woman's Advertising Club of the World.
In 1940 James Clark Work and his wife moved to Wilton, Connecticut, to live in a quaint farm house on Old Wilton Road. The property known as "White Fences," where they raised two children, Pamela and Jamie.
In 1940 he began to paint covers for the Street & Smith pulp, Love Story Magazine.
In 1941 Metro-Goldwin-Mayer produced "Ziegfeld Girl" starring Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr and Lana Turner. As a publicity stunt, The Hollywood movie studio funded a $1000 nationwide art competition to visualize the modern day American showgirl. The contest was organized by the Art Students League of New York and judged by the celebrated artist, James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960), who selected a drawing by J. Clark Work that was featured in newspapers and awarded a $50 cash prize.
During WWII James Clark Work was age thirty-four, married and the father of two children, so he was not selected for military service.
In 1962, after the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Worthe Faulkner, J. Clark Work and his wife sold their home in Wilton, CT, and retired to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
James Clark Work died in Florida at the age of eighty-one on December 23, 1989.
© David Saunders 2016