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DonatHyatt.jpgAlthough Donald Clapper grew up in the Northeast, home of many great American Still Life and Trompe l’Oeil Masters, this coincidence did not influence his attraction to the world of art.  After graduating from the University of Colorado with a B.A. Degree in 1983, Clapper began a successful real estate career in Florida and his hobby interests at that time were in competitive golf and skiing.   Unbeknownst to him, an unplanned stop to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia in the late 1980’s became the momentum that drew him to Trompe l’Oeil and Classical Realism after he saw an original William Harnett painting. He marveled at Harnett’s ability to create both unbelievable detail and illusionary dimension and began a personal study on the Old Masters Dutch still life painters and on the American Trompe l’Oeil School of painters of the late 1800’s, specifically, William M. Harnett, John Haberle and John Peto.

Clapper’s painting developed during the 1980-90’s while he lived and worked in Gainesville, Florida. It was during this season, he developed his own techniques and proficiency as he applied the Old Masters’ methods of indirect lighting, shadowing, glazing and multi dimensional affects to the canvas. .

After a period of painting still life’s, Clapper completed series of  trompe l’oeil paintings that  pays homage to the pioneers of American trompe l’oeil such as Harnett and Peto. In 1994, he relocated to Arizona where he still abides and works in his Scottsdale studio.  Clapper’s study focused once again to the genre of trompe l’oeil including this time some modern day masters, namely Ken Davies, Gary Erbe and David Brega.

In April of 2002, Clapper launched the International Guild of Realism, an exclusive group of today’s finest realist painters dedicated to the genre of classical and contemporary realism. Clapper is also the president of the Trompe l’Oeil Society of Artists, an exclusive group of today’s finest trompe l’oeil artists.. 

In 2009, Clapper created a new figurative style called “Dramatic Realism”. These new figure paintings represent a new style that illuminates the figure in a different and exciting way with multiple light sources and color splashes penetrating the composition.  This dramatic colorful lighting creates drama and mystery to the figure. This new style combines everything that the artist enjoys in quality painting such as dramatic lighting, interesting composition, skillful technique and a unique blend of exciting color.  These figure paintings by Clapper are still executed in the same skillful and academic manner that Clapper has been recognized throughout the country for his award winning and museum quality still life and trompe l'oeil paintings.

Clapper’s work has received national as well as international recognition.   He has received numerous articles in such publications as International Artist Magazine, American Art Review, American Art Collector Magazine and Art News.   His work has been featured in many museums across the nation including The Phoenix Art Museum, The Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin and The Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has exhibited in top level galleries across the country in New York City, Dallas, Santa Fe, LA and Naples, FL.

ASTA - Goddes of Art Award 2012

American Society of Traditional Artists

For "Modern X" oil painting at the Annual ASTA Exhibition - Scottsdale Arizona




Trompe l’Oeil  Society  of  Artists 

-  President and Co-founder


International Guild of Realism 

-  Founding Charter Member


American Society of Traditional Artists (ASTA)

 Honorary lifetime Member


Art Renewal Center 

– Awarded the high designation of ARC Associate Living Master in 2012


Oil Painters of America

Associate Member  

Members of the Trompe L'Oeil Society of Artist which Don co-founded. Don third from left.



Museum Exhibition    The New Reality:

The Frontier of Realism in the 21st Century

April, 2008 through February 2011

Eleven City National Realism Guild Museum Tour


Museum Exhibition    Smith Kramer Fine Arts, Kansas City,

January, 2005 through July 2007

Twelve City National Trompe l’Oeil Museum Tour


Museum Exhibition     Vero Beach Museum of Art,  Florida,

February 1, 2007 -  May 6, 2007


Museum Exhibition     Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK

October 2, 2004 - November 15, 2004


Museum Exhibition     The Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM

June 6, 2003 through August 29, 2003


Museum Exhibition     The Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

March 10, 2003 through June 15


Museum Exhibition     The Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, Wisconsin

April 5, 2003 through June 1, 2003



Principle Gallery, Alexandria, Virginia

Robert Lange Studios, Charleston, SC

Jones and Terwilliger Galleries, Carmel, CA

Sage Creek Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

J. Willott Gallery, Palm Desert, Ca.

Scottsdale Fine Art, Scottsdale, Arizona

Manitou Galleries, Santa Fe, NM

Eleanor Ettinger Gallery, New York City, NY

Klaudia Mar Gallery, Santa Fe, NM


Don next to his painting at a Scottsdale gallery show in AZ.


Images Arizona Magazine, Four page article – February 2016 

American Art Collector Magazine, Seven page article – September 2015

American Art Collector Magazine, Eight page article – October 2011

American Art Collector MagazineSix page article – February  2010

American Art Collector Magazine, Six page article – January  2008

Art NewsNew York Show Review – June  2003

American Art ReviewSix page article – April  2003

International Artist Magazine,   Seven page feature article – August 2002

Donald Clapper with a new creation on his Hughes easel
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum - Panel discussion, Larry Charles, Eric Conklin and Donald Clapper.

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