Clarence Rudolph Mattei, of Swiss-Italian descent, was born on 13 November 1883 in San Francisco, California. He spent most of his life as a resident of Santa Barbara, California. Herman and Ellen Duryea took Mattei under their philanthropic wing when he was in his teens, giving him the opportunity to go to a professional art school, and sending the 16-year-old Mattei to attend the prestigious Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco in 1901 and 1902, under Oscar Kunath. While there, Mattei distinguished himself sufficiently to secure a scholarship to go to New York, where he became a member of the New York Students Art League. He married fellow art student Molly Crittendon. Mattei was intent on improving his technique, and his talent earned him a scholarship to attend the Académie Julian in Paris from 1904 to 1908, under Jean-Paul Laurens. Before returning to Santa Barbara in 1908, Mattei took side trips to England, Italy and Spain. In 1923 he married Merle Gossett Wilhoit and they proved to be a well-matched couple. From 1925 to 1927 Mattei produced many portraits for the leading figures of Santa Barbara, including sculptress-to-be Frances Rich. Several hundred people from East Coast society sat for Mattei. At the end of 1944, Mattei was diagnosed with leukemia, which progressed quickly. In March of the following year he entered Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and passed away on 3 April 1945. § Mattei presented his art at the following exhibitions: Salon, Paris, France (1907); San Francisco Art Association, CA (1910); Rabjohn & Morcom, San Francisco, CA (1914); Santa Barbara Art Club, Santa Barbara, CA (1924); Palos Verdes, CA (1935); and Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco, CA (1939). In August 2004, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum presented "A Portrait of Santa Barbara: The Art of Charles and Clarence Mattei", and dedicated an entire issue of its quarterly magazine Noticias Mattei.
[Megakles Rogakos 01/2009]
REDMON, MICHAEL Noticias: Portraits of a Community: The Art of Clarence Mattei 08/2004 Santa Barbara Historical Museum, Santa Barbara, v.L, #3
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Frances Rich - La Gazelle 2010 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens