Charley 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!