Harper (August 4, 1922-June 10, 2007) was a Cincinnati-based American Modernist artist, best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations. Born in Frenchtown, West Virginia in 1922, Charley's upbringing on his family farm influenced his work to his last days. He left his farm home to study art at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and won the academy's first Stephen H. Wilder Traveling Scholarship. While at the academy, and supposedly on the first day, Charley met fellow artist Edie McKee, whom he would marry shortly after graduation in 1947.
During his career, Charles Harper illustrated numerous books, notably The Golden Book of Biology; magazines such as Ford Times; and many prints, posters, and other works. As his subjects are namely natural, with birds prominently featured, Charley often created works for many nature-based organizations; among them the National Park Service, Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati Nature Center, Hamilton County (Ohio) Park District, and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania. He also designed interpretive displays for the Everglades National Park. Charley Harper passed away on Sunday, June 10th, 2007 after contending with pneumonia for some months.
In a style he called "minimal realism", Charley Harper captures the essence of his subjects with the fewest possible visual elements. The results are bold, colorful, and often whimsical. The designer Todd Oldham writes of Harper, "Charley's inspired yet accurate color sense is undeniable, and when combined with the precision he exacts on rendering only the most important details, one is always left with a sense of awe."
There are many more Charley Harper prints available other than what's pictured here. Serious collectors can contact us about available original Harper works. If there’s something you’re looking for, just call us. We’ll check to see if that hard-to-find image is available for you!
NEW - NEW - NEW!
Reed Arts is the proud, exclusive source of the new Harper "ohio" flag! This 5' x 3' grommeted flag is double-sided, screen-printed with UV inhibitors to make sure the colors last, and made from 100D knitted polyester for long wear and durability. The image is from an original gouache painting, and features Charley's iconic cardinal, ladybug and a buckeye leaf. Show your Ohio pride and Harper devotion with this unique decoration. Available for $60 ONLY at Reed Arts!
Pick up the new Charley Harper coffee table book, Charley Harper's Animal Kingdom at Reed Arts! Celebrated designer Todd Oldham opens another treasure trove of unseen and unpublished illustrations in this new AMMO Books release. Todd has done it again by going deeper into Charley Harper's extensive archive to create the ultimate companion to An Illustrated Life, and presents the absolute best of Charley's previously hidden illustrations. Ranging from bugs and birds to all creatures of land and sea from the bountiful imagination of the artist, animal lovers and fans of Charley alike will be thrilled with this stunning new collection. Featuring more than 300 previously unseen illustrations, Charley Harper's Animal Kingdom includes illustrations Charley created during a span of more than sixty years and appeals to a wide range of audiences both young and old. 17"x12", 288 pages, $100.