Ray W. Clarke, LTD - Residential & Executive Interior Design



My Inspirations are various photographs arranged by rather loose categories, as you will see. These are, more or less, the “people, places, architecture, and decorative art” that played important parts in forming my life of design and artistic workplace, my intellectual pursuits, creating my library, art collections and my avocational interests that enhance my daily living.

I found sensitivity to classics as a child within The Peristyle at The Toledo Museum of Art, urging me into a world of classical literature, art and architecture. It led me to discover the music of Maurice Ravel, the opening bars of Daphnis and Chloe from which I would never “recover”. I heard the greatest conductor of all time, George Szell spell out with transparency of crystal, music of Mozart. In Toledo, Ohio I discovered the great buildings of ancient Greece and Rome viewing the painting of Thomas Cole’s An Architect’s Dream in a frame designed and made by my grandfather in the museum. My first view of Picasso was Woman with a Crow.

My paternal grandfather, the late Sam Clarke, was an émigré from London, trained as a gilder who framed the painting collection of Edward Drummond Libbey, Founder of The Toledo Museum of Art. My big step would be Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland where the Architecture and Design School were immersed in the great tradition established by the venerable Mies van der Rohe whose classic reserve would characterize my taste forever. I would later meet him at the ‘sister’ school in Chicago, The Illinois Institute of Technology, whose chairman was George Danforth, previous chairman of our own school in Cleveland. I would meet George Szell face to face, study at The Cleveland Museum of Art where the great scholar and my teacher Sherman Lee presided over a curatorial staff of the most excellent experts, including the great educator and author, Thomas Munro, with whom I studied aesthetics. Victoria Kloss Ball, author and professor, was my mentor.

Studying life drawing and watercolor with Paul Travis at The Cleveland Institute of Art was an experience unlike anything before or since. A famous graduate of The Cleveland School of Art, his style would lead to my fascination of Africa as both source of cubist style roots and logically to the classic stylists of the American WPA artist of great stature, Clarence Carter, both Travis’ teacher and continued contemporary master. Much later I would meet Edris Eckhardt, known for the discovery of the ‘lost wax’ technique used by ancient Egyptians for glass sculpture. My own art collection formed early around The Cleveland School, so termed, contains many drawings by Travis, Clarence Carter, a wonderful image of Saraband by Kalman Kubinyi, and a glass sculpture, Lorelei by Edris Eckhardt.

My friendship with Ruth Dancyger, author and biographer of Kubinyi and Eckhardt would become historical. Merging my artistic life with society was a logical outcome in my career and has led to scholarly and personal relationships of great privilege. Taking nothing for granted, my career in interior design and applied arts would be dismal without scholarly friends and society’s important patronage. Living within the cultural heart of Cleveland has been one of life’s most precious gifts.

My idols of the stage, design, fashion, and even the art of the perfect physique, formed logically, if sometimes to my regret more slowly that I would have wished, but fortunate to discover in the path in which my life naturally unfolded. My travels were a great privilege I cherish for their beautiful rewards. Dior remains the inveterate classic couturier to me, and the Spanish Steps are the world’s most dazzling and glorious stairway to the stars.

Sharing my interests with friends has been savory to my spiritual life giving it meaning and a deeper understanding of the world of the most exciting and most mundane. I hope you enjoy a bit of secret joy in my little collection, something you might otherwise have not seen.

Ray W. Clarke
Cleveland & Palm Beach
April, 2009