Etienne Clare was born in Paris in 1901. He grew up in Bümpliz and moved to Bern in 1912.
His encounter with Ferdinand Hodler’s works at the 1914 Swiss National Exhibition in Bern introduced him to art. From 1917 to 1920 he attended the Kunstgewerbeschule [School of Arts and Crafts] in Bern. In the early 1920s he worked as a bookseller in Lauenburg (Germany) and as a docker in Hamburg. He subsequently took evening classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule [school of arts and crafts] in Wandsbek. Clare settled in Thun in 1924. He worked as a lithographer and published his first portfolio of lithographs showing views of the city of Thun – more would follow in 1941 and 1951. In 1928 he started a two-year journey through South America. In 1941 he moved with his family to Oberhofen. In 1949 he created a sgraffito work for the KABA [Bern cantonal exhibition] in Thun, and further works in the public domain would follow. Starting in 1951 he took part in the Christmas exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Thun. Other exhibitions followed in Thun and Bern such as his solo exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Thun in 1952. In 1953 Clare moved into the studio on the Freienhofgasse, and six years later he founded the Aarequai Gallery in Thun. In 1964 he joined Xylon, the Swiss wood engravers’ association and took part in its exhibitions in Switzerland and abroad. Three years later he travelled extensively in the USA. Clare died in Thun in early 1975.