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C.Harper's Lady

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C.Harper's Lady
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Image by eyewashdesign: A. Golden
Charlie Harper hand-painted signature: for Todd Oldham by La-z-Boy Artist event: 27 Sep. 2006


Prolific illustrator, Mr. Charlie Harper, is an artist respected for his colorful & reductive illustrations of nature & animals. Charley-as he prefers-was born on August 4th, 1922 in Frenchtown, West Virginia and served in World War II during his tenure as a student at the Arts Academy of Cincinnati.

In 1947 Charley graduated from art school, married his college love, Edie, & received the first-ever Wilder Traveling Award. Charley & Edie honored the award by traveling for several months across the western United States. Upon returning from his inspirational travels, Harper began working for a commercial art studio in Cincinnati.
After only a few years, he set off on his own as a freelance illustrator for clients including the Ford Motor Company; Golden Press; Crosley Broadcasting Corporation & the National Parks Service.

Charley Harper is both an artist & a conservationist, having designed posters that shed light on our disappearing natural world. In 2005, Harper created a poster for Cornell University's Bird Laboratory. Charley, Edie & their son, Brett live in Cincinnati, Ohio, where the Cincinnati Museum of Modern Art will feature a retrospective of his prolific work starting 01 November, throughout 2007.

The work which appears here (Painted Bunting), is a limited silk-screen produced in 1952 for 'Ford Times', a now defunct lifestyle magazine produced by the Ford Motor Company and then later compiled for the now out of print book, 'Birds and Words'. Not only is Charley's appealing style clearly of the spare & modern tone we associate with the mid - century moment in art & design, he is also a capable naturalist who has been called, "THE Audubon of his time."

His depictions of flora & fauna convey with only the most necessary marks the essences of his subjects. He is also a humorist, yet does not anthropomorphize the animals he chooses to show us. One gets the sense that Mr. Harper doesn't feel the remove of human distance or superiority toward his subjects, while also respecting with a keen observational power the intricacies & sublime design that is occurring before our eyes & at all times in nature.

I was fortunate to have been a part of hosting an art exibit with him in SoHo. After 50 years, the bird silkscreens he produced for 'Ford Times Magazine' have come full-circle to help bring his name to the lips of several new generations...Go Charles!

His book, Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life designed by Todd Oldham, will be launcing in Spring, 2007. It is a collection of Charley's life's work from 1947-2006. Included will be: illustrated work from Betty Crocker's 'Dinner for Two', 'The Golden Book of Biology', 'The Animal Kingdom', 'Ford Times', National Parks Posters, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and many more!

The limited edition book, sized 18.5" x 13" (the actual size of Charley's silk-screen prints), is hardcover with an embossed box, includes a silk-screen print, 385 pages and over 500 images. The Popular Edition book, sized at 12" x 8.5" with an embossed cover, has 385 pages and over 500 images. It will be available Autumn, 2007.

Place of Elijah's Sacrifice on Mt. Carmel
names for animals
Image by OSU Special Collections & Archives : Commons
Image Description from historic lecture booklet: "The one great name associated with Mount Germel is that of the prophet Elijah, and the one great event in the prophet's sacrifices in the sight of all Israel, when the solemn choice of the nation was made between Jehovah and Baal. Near the foot of the mountain overlooking the plain, stands a rocky plateau which tradition has fixed upon as the site of the two rival altars. Around one altar stood the four hundred priest of Ball, shouting hoarsely for their god to send the fire upon the waiting sacrifice, but calling in vain. By the other altar stood Elijah alone, the prophet of Jehovah, lifting his solitary voice to God. In a moment his prayer was answered; the fire fell from the heavens;the offering was burned; the water in the trench around it was licked up; even the dust upon the altar was consume and its stones were destroyed under the intense heat; while the people shouted with one voice. "Jehovah, He is God!""

Original Collection: Visual Instruction Department Lantern Slides

Item Number: P217:set 010 035

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We're happy for you to share this digital image within the spirit of The Commons; however, certain restrictions on high quality reproductions of the original physical version may apply. To read more about what “no known restrictions” means, please visit the Special Collections & Archives website, or contact staff at the OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center for details.

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