Born in Chicago in 1876, Clark studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, but after becoming bored with the Academic approach to learning he was encouraged to study at the Art Students League in New York where he studied with painters like John Twachtman, Kenyon Cox and William Merritt Chase. In 1898 Clark went to Paris to study. He studied briefly with James McNeill.
After returning to the U.S. and getting married he returned frequently to Europe to paint and was successfully selling his paintings in New York and Chicago. He joined the Navy in 1914 as a military photographer then he settled in Pasadena, CA where he met up with Guy Rose whom he had met in France, and began teaching at the Stickney Art School. During this time Clark began painting murals in Southern California as well as making several painting trips to Mexico
and the desert, which influenced his painting with bolder and brighter colors. In the 1930s he served as director of the Stickney School of Art and continued to exhibit his work, but by the end of the depression, Alson Clark and his type of work had fallen out of favor in the art community and at the age of 72 he died almost forgotten by the American art community. More about Clark can be found in An American Impressionist: The Art and Life of Alson Skinner Clark