Painter Kate Freeman Clark only became known as a remarkable artist after her death in 1957. She had begun her formal arts training in the 1890s. She enrolled in art classes in Memphis, Tennessee before heading to the Art Students League in New York in 1894, where she studied under William Merritt Chase.
When Chase opened his own school he worked to draw away the "cream" of the students, and Clark was one of them. She had brought her widowed mother with her to New York, and out of a sense of genteel social decorum asked her daughter to sign her work with a masculine name to conceal her gender.
Clark never sold a single painting and upon the death of her mother in 1923 she packed up her paints and canvases and stored them away for the rest of her life. She returned home to Holly Springs, Mississippi and upon her death left hundreds of her paintings to her hometown, as well as enough money to establish an art center in her name.
Many who view who works are overwhelmed by the loss of such a talent, who cut short her own career to assume a "proper" place in society. Her works are primarily landscapes in tempera, though she did create figures, portraits and even some abstract works in her short professional career.
The Kate Freeman Clark Museum in Holly Springs, Mississippi is the home to the majority of her works, though there have been retrospectives and honorary exhibitions at the University of Mississippi and in smaller galleries elsewhere.