Clara Sipprell

born Tillsonburg, ON, Canada 1885-died Bennington, VT 1975
Also known as
  • Clara Estelle Sipprell
  • Clarabelle E. Sipprell
  • Clara E. Sipprell
Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada
Bennington, Vermont, United States
Active in
  • Buffalo, New York, United States
  • New York, New York, United States
  • Thetford, Vermont, United States
  • Manchester, Vermont, United States
  • American

Throughout her seventy-year career Sipprell created photographs that typify Pictorialism: expressive rather than narrative or documentary , suggesting in her portraits the spiritual quality of the subject rather than a physical likeness.

Even before she began her studies at the Clarence White School in New York City, Sipprell learned about the medium in the Buffalo, New York, portrait photography studio of her older brother Frank Sipprell. At sixteen she ended her formal education in order to work at the studio full time to prepare herself for a career in photography. Sipprell's work reflects not only the early influence of her brother and his colleagues of the Buffalo Camera Club but also her appreciation of Gertrude Kasebier and other members of the New York Pictorialist community. She enjoyed a close relationship with her brother, and, later, his wife, Lucy, who is the subject of this portrait. Sipprell was fond of saying that she learned photography from Frank and aesthetics from Lucy.

Merry A. Foresta American Photographs: The First Century (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996)