Theme/Style – Figurative art, still lifes, illustrations
Media – Oils, murals, etchings, graphic arts
Artistic Focus – Cleo Wilkins’ clean Art Deco style, with its careful shading and composition, are hallmarks of her paintings. From the 1930s through the 1960s Wilkins retained the careful compositional style for which she had become known. For that reason, many of her works are difficult to date precisely.
Career Highlights –
- Born Cleonike Damianakes in 1895, Cleo Wilkins studied at the University of California in her native Berkeley.
- In 1924 she married her first husband, Richard Oliver, and lived for a time in Hollywood.
- Wilkins was a member of both the California and Chicago Societies of Etchers, and from the 1920s through the 1940s was active in Chicago and New York City.
- Wilkins, as Cleonike Damianakes, illustrated the dust jackets of Conrad Aiken’s Great Circle, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms, and several titles by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
- In the San Francisco Bay Area, Wilkins was active in Oakland and also in Berkeley, where she is reputed to have painted murals for the city’s High School Auditorium.
- By the 1960s she had married a second time, to Ralph Wilkins. Cleo Wilkins passed away in Berkeley in 1979.