Claude Buck

born New York City 1890-died Santa Barbara, CA 1974
Media - 1983.46.7 - SAAM-1983.46.7_1 - 7081
Claude Buck, Self-Portrait, 1919, oil on wood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Claude Buck, 1983.46.7
Also known as
  • Charles Claude Buck
  • Charles C. Buck
  • Charles Sargeant
New York, New York, United States
Santa Barbara, California, United States
Active in
  • Chicago, Illinois, United States

Claude Buck started to paint when he was very young and at the age of eight applied to be a copyist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum rejected him because of his age, but Buck kept asking and three years later was finally granted permission to copy the old master paintings. He was the youngest artist ever to study at the National Academy of Design, where he spent eight years creating works inspired by romantic literature. In 1917, Buck founded the Introspectives, a group of four painters who created surreal images and believed that “the poetry of a picture means more . . . than the imitation or even the representation of nature” (Eldredge, “Claude Buck and the Introspectives,” The Shape of the Past, 1981). Later in his career, however, he completely rejected these strange, dreamlike themes and joined the Society for Sanity in Art, which celebrated straightforward, representational painting. (Berney, “Claude Buck: His Life and Art,” Antiques and Fine Art, August 1989)