Gerald Clapsaddle

Jerry Clapsaddle, an American Artist, known for Pattern Painting, of Amelia Island Fla. passed away on August 21, 2023, with his beloved wife, Virginia Daughtrey, at his side.

A celebration of his life is tentatively planned for fall.

Jerry was born on December 12, 1941, in Hastings Neb., to Loretta and Jack Clapsaddle and raised on a farm in Conrad, Iowa. After graduating from Drake University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1964 and a Master of Fine Arts from Indiana University in 1966 1966, he taught art for 40 years at various institutions including University of Hawaii, Indiana University, University of Maryland, State University College of New York, Rhode Island School of Design and University of Rhode Island. He finished his career as an associate professor of art at George Mason University in Virginia, where he taught studio art and promoted the exhibition of student and faculty art from 1982 until 2000.

His art was described by Paul Richard of “The Washington Post” on Aug. 30, 1980. “Clapsaddle applies, in overlapping layers, some 10,000 little brush strokes-horizontals, verticals, diagonals and arcs. Were he rushed or restless, the building of these pictures, the weaving of these color-tweeds, would no doubt drive him batty. But his works are never frazzled. Instead, they suggest contentment and the pace of daydreams. They are mantras for the eye. Clapsaddle repeats himself, but in certain repetitions, the weeding of a garden, the spinning of a prayer wheel—are paths that lead to freedom. In time these paintings blossom: Each one seems to summon to the surface, not one grid, but many grids, overlapping rhythms and patterns that are multiplied. The mind drifts for a while, then focus on detail, then drifts again. The most surprising thing about them is how much there is to see.”

In Jerry’s own words, “Growing up amidst the constantly changing fields of Iowa, the arriving at abstraction in my work as an artist was inevitable, real and necessary.” The planting, cultivating and harvesting, working with the cycles of seasons was a world complete, consuming and evolving, of nurture, sustenance and wonder. Jerry’s art on canvas and paper transformed the rows of crops into vectors of patterns, phased in and out, layered and cycled like the seasons and the labored fields of tilling, planting, cultivation and harvest. Approached from near and far from various positions these are also like the horses and show cattle he trained, performing for the viewer with unfolding variety, spirit and precision. And then there is the unexpected.

One of his paintings, Moms Remind (1979), was selected for an exhibition, The Best of Four Decades of Washington D.C. Art in 2014 at American University, Washington D.C. The piece revealed a shadow of his young son with arms outstretched, as inspiration and model. His art and process was innovative, fluid, infinitely variable and adaptable to change with a bit of the unexpected.

Jerry’s paintings have been purchased by many corporate, governmental, private and public collectors and institutions. He has been awarded grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, fellowships from universities, and two Art In Public Places grants from the National Endowment of the Arts.

In 1997, Jerry completed an ambitious and innovative public art commission for the National Trade Center in Toronto titled Flow of Trade. Unanimously awarded through an international competition and comprised of nearly 200,000 concrete pavers, it is the largest public artwork in Canada.

Some of Jerry’s passions and adventures included the Boy Scouts, 4-H, camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and bareback horse riding. He was an accomplished sailor on the Chesapeake Bay, U.S. east coast, Caribbean and Greece. His Web site,, contains works on paper about his sailing adventures.

Jerry is remembered by those who knew and loved him as modest, intelligent, well read, curious, contemplative, compassionate, adventurous, funny, opinionated, articulate and caring.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Loretta Clapsaddle.

He leaves behind his spouse Virginia Daughtrey; son, Roy Adam Clapsaddle (PJ); sister, Karen L. Hanson (John); sister-in-law, Kathleen Hendrix; nephew, Mark Hanson (Justine); nieces: Gail Hommertzheim (Tim), Kira Krumm (Juan), Kristianna Salmon (Ric), Elizabeth Robbins (Rob), beloved cousins of Crawford and Nelson families and grand nieces and nephews.

In remembrance of Jerry the family requests that any charitable donations be made to the Alzheimers Association.

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