John Clymer – Red Boat Series circa 1970’s ??

Lot 164: attribution- John Ford Clymer (American, 1907-1989) Harbor Entrance oil on canvas signed "John Clymer" (lower right) 12 x 16 inches. John Ford Clymer is an American Illustrator, also known for his western paintings (e.g. Lewis & Clark series). The attribution appears to be wrong.

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers and Appraisers (Illinois) -- Auction Date: 2004
The original Monet version is found in the Orangerie Museum in Paris -- les bateaux rouges à Argenteuil (1875)

Signature on lot above

Signature from Lot below

Signed lower left "John Clymer"-- attribution John Ford Clymer (1907 - 1989, American). Attribution also appears incorrect. The Cobbs Auctioneers: New Hampshire -- Auction Date: July 2003; Lot Oil on canvas harbor scene of moored sail boats and houses on the banks.

Ornate gold frame. 23 1/2 " by 36"

Monet version circa 1875
Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University

Information on these two auctions is from

Backgound -- Claude Monet was born November 14, 1840 in Paris, France. Monet was the leader of a group of French artists called the "Impressionists," which included such painters as Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Camille Pissarro. Monet's family moved to the port town of Le Havre in 1845. He took his early art lessons from the painter, Eugene Boudin. Boudin, who worked up sketches out-of doors, encouraged Monet to do the same. "Suddenly the veil was torn away.... My destiny as a painter opened out to me," he later said. For the next 60+ years Monet explored the effects of light on outdoor scenes. He was the first artist to let his initial impressions stand as completed works, rather than as "notes" done in preparation for work in the studio. Monet moved to Paris in 1859, where he met and befriended Pissarro and Edouard Manet. He married in 1870, and in 1871 settled in Argenteuil. He fixed up a boat with an easel and painted his way up and down the Seine River, capturing his impressions of the interplay of light, water and atmosphere. In 1874 Monet and a group of painters including Pissarro and Renoir banded together to form a society of artists. They gave a public exhibition of their work at the studio of a Paris photographer. Monet exhibited a painting called Impression: Sunrise. His painting gave the group its name, coined in derision by critic Louis Leroy referring to the entire exhibition as Impressionistic. Despite the financial failure of this first exhibit, the Impressionist continued to exhibit together until 1886. Monet slowly achieved recognition in the years after the Impressionists disbanded. In 1883, he settled in Giverny, France and continued to paint, and explore his fascination with light until his death on December 5, 1926.

In 1875 Monet made four studies of red boats from similar perspectives at Argenteuil (3 made about the same time called "Yaughts"). I have seen three similar studies by John Clymer (the two described above), and the one below (picture in frame). In August 2014, I was e-mailed a picture of a 4th. This along with another Clymer painting of a different subject matter (commercial sailing vessels at dock) now are posted below:

Click Picture to see signature

Another Monet version later in 1875
Poster Reproduction - Location of painting unknown

Monet's final version is not really the same as Clymer's third version (shown next to it) or the 4th version (below), as it lacks ducks (left), has an extra hull (right) and the smaller moving sailboat on the right is missing -- keep looking -- other differences are staring at you. Is there a fifth Clymer version to match Monet's work ?? Let me know, please.

Click Picture to see signature

Click Picture to see signature

Who was John Clymer, and is he the same person as the well-known, prolific Illustrator ?? Short answer: Not likely. Long answer follows: From, and other sites we find that the Clymer Museum of western art is located at 416 N. Pearl, Ellensburg Washington, the town where John Ford Clymer was born. John Ford Clymer painted more than 80 covers for the The Saturday Evening POST between 1945 and 1963, as well as numerous other ads and commercial work in the USA and Canada. In 1964, after 40 years as an illustrator, he discontinued his commercial work and devoted all his time to painting. North American game animals and scenes from Western history seem his primary interest. “Clymer was also particularly interested in depicting the history of the Pacific Northwest, where he grew up. He attempted to tell the whole story of the region, creating sensitive and detailed depictions of Native American life and the meeting of Native and Anglo cultures. One of his featured subjects was the great fur trade era, which led to the exploration of the region.” He died on November 4, 1989 at age 82, after many years spent in Wyoming.

Elsewhere we find: “There is a well known western artist, John Ford Clymer (1907-1989). He did illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post, as well as a lot of famous western art (Lewis and Clark, etc.) My husband is a descendant of John FORD Clymer. I once bought at auction an original oil by "John Clymer." To my chagrin, my husband and his mother told me that this particular John Clymer is not the same person as John FORD Clymer.” “The picture I bought was of a lovely seaside picture (2004).” This comment from 2004 is one indication of an error in the two auction attributions. Simply compare the work of John Ford Clymer (several examples below, you can find much more of his western work on the Web) with the Red boat pictures and you will agree. More on the controversy can be found at:

Chrysler Ad from 1947 – John Ford Clymer – 1958 Advertisement

John Ford Clymer – non-western cover

Up for auction on E-bay (late October 2006) is an oil on canvas signed a John Clymer at the lower left. “This one and several like it I've seen elsewhere are very impressionist in style: a great impressionistic piece that looks like the harbor at Victoria, British Columbia. According to Davenport (2002) John Clymer was an artist from Canada. I have no other biographical information about him. The image size of this beautiful harbor sceneis 24 x 36. The painting appears to be fairly typical of his work: pure impressionism-heavy use of light and beautiful and bright pastel/oil colors and lots of summer/spring and harbor scenes. If you like colorful, impression-style landscapes like I do; bid heartily, because this is a very good one and won't last. It requires only hanging in a very visible location-because it's an eye catcher because of those beautiful colors. Several of these Clymers have sold recently on E-bay auction-one for more than $4000. I bought this one off the wall in an estate sale in a multi-million dollar Atlanta Buckhead home many years ago.” Offered for $1,500 as a “Buy it Now” or best offer.

Davenport is an artist biography/auction database summary containing more than 100,000 artists. It is updated and reprinted annually. The current one is for 2006. The reference was to the one for 2001/2002, which has more than 2050 pages: ISBN #0-931036-95-X. The Clymer references are on page 419. Several more John Clymer paintings follow from the Web during 2004-6:

    This is a Monet that looks somewhat similar
Montmarte view, Paris scene
Argenteuil Bridge over Seine
French Coast -- Le Havre ??
Another French Scene ?? Signature from painting at left
Another French Scene. 
Is it really Paris ??
Picture in Frame -- Better Signature
Sold for $1265

Sold in 2012

Thus it is my considered opinion that John Clymer of red boat fame, and similar impressionistic genre, who reportedly comes from Canada, is not the same person as John Ford Clymer. The style is different. The signatures are somewhat similar, except for the way the "J" in John is formed. Interestingly, John Ford Clymer lived in Vancouver and Ontario in the 1930’s. While there he provided illustrations for several leading Canadian magazines, before returning to the States. Perhaps this underlies part of the confusion between very similar names.

News -- Summer 2007: Another "Clymer" has come up for sale, attributed to the name of John Floyd Clymer, an American 20th Century artist, said to be born in Perkasie, Pennsylvania in 1893. He is thought to have attended the Lyme [Connecticut] Academy of Fine Arts, but that school established in 1976 seems an unlikely candidate. An avid painter, this Clymer was best-known for his impressionist seaside paintings of contemporary and historical subjects.,original-oil-john,890351.html But is that attribution a confused mistake too ? There is a James Floyd Clymer that matches most of this description. see A Biography of James Floyd Clymer

Below are two more similar Clymers that I have come across both reflective of French artist Julles-Achillo Noël (1810-1881). In particular, the second ship scene squarely evokes the best of the style of Jules Noël. see also
Another French Scene ?? Signature from painting at left
Another French Scene ?? Signature from painting at left
Another French Scene ?? on sale in 2009

More French Scenes ??
Note Cathedral at left from 2009 sale

Another Monet-style painting (with its inspiration circa 1870):

Another illustration but from a different person.

2008 Update: Folk Artist and sometimes commercial illustrator, James Floyd Clymer; born in 1893, Perkasie, Pennsylvania; also known as J. F. Clymer, Floyd Clymer; also active in Provincetown, Pennsylvania; married Gwenyth Waugh, a costume designer (see,9171,748224,00.html).

Now -- Just one more from Monet à Argenteuil (1874)

A boat race !!!

New -- October 26, 2006
Revised: January 26, 2015: More Monets at --