Jack McLarty was born in Seattle in 1919 but soon moved to Portland, attending Benson High School and the Museum Art School (now PNCA). In New York McLarty enrolled at the American Artist’s School where he was a student of Joseph Solman. McLarty returned to Portland, working first in the shipyards until in 1947 he joined the faculty of the Museum Art School where he was a teacher of George Johanson, Eunice Parsons as well as other artists in the Rock Creek collection. McLarty painted murals at Laurelhurst School, Collinsview School (moved later to Capitol Hill School) and Buckman School. McLarty made frequent trips to Mexico and was strongly influenced by the Mexican Muralists Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, as well as by the German Expressionists. In 1961 McLarty and his wife Barbara opened Portland’s first cooperative gallery, the Image Gallery, which in its 25 years of operation often showed Contemporary Northwest as well as Inuit and Mexican folk artists. A prolific painter and printmaker, McLarty retired from teaching in 1981. He died in Portland in 2011. His work can be found in the Portland Art Museum, The Smithsonian Institution, Seattle Art Museum, The Jordan Schnitzer Museum (U of O) and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. Rock Creek has five of his prints in its collection.
Roger Hull, former curator of the Hallie Ford Museum, writes that McLarty’s work often conveys “a frightful gaiety.”