Thomas Le Clear was an American painter (Owego, New York 1818 – New Jersey, 1882). According the historical sources, at the age of twelve he sold his first paintings, copies of Saint Matthew.
In 1832 his family moved to Ontario, Canada, and a few years later Le Clear became an itinerant portrait artist and decorative painter in upstate New York and as far west as Green Bay, Wisconsin.
In 1839 he moved to New York City and opened a studio. From 1844 to 1860, he resided in Buffalo, where he was a founding member of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy. He returned to New York City in the early 1860s, and was elected a full membership in the National Academy of Design in 1863.
In addition to portraits, he also produced a substantial number of genre paintings. Many of the latter were street life scenes, in which children were featured in whimsical situations.