Charley Harper was an American Modernist artist best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations. He was born in Frenchton, West Virginia in 1922. It was Harper’s upbringing on his family farm that influenced his work to his last days. He left his farm home to study art at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. It was on Charley’s first day at the Art Academy he met fellow artist Edie Mckee and married her right after their graduation in 1947.
Charley and Edie spent their honeymoon traveling the country, mainly in the west and south, being able to do so because of the Stephen H. Wilder Scholarship the Academy awarded to Charley for post-graduate travels. The first scholarship of its kind that the school had awarded. Harper later returned to the Art Academy of Cincinnati as a teacher, but eventually, the couple and their son Brett formed Harper Studios.
During his career, Charley Harper illustrated numerous books (most notably The Golden Book of Biology) and magazines like Ford Times. Because his subjects were mainly natural, and mostly birds, Charley often created works for nature-based organizations, among them the National Park Service; the Cincinnati Zoo; the Cincinnati Nature Center; the Hamilton County Park District; and the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania.
In a style he called “minimal realism”, Charley Harper captured the essence of his subjects with the fewest possible visual elements.
Charley Harper died on June 10, 2007, and the world hasn’t looked the same since.
You can pick up your own piece – prints, books, cards etc – by this amazing illustrator at CharleyHarperPrints.com