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Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Art of Charles Wysocki

When people start collecting, they usually start with things that, at some level, are art. The best example is what they display on walls; but if it is to be collectible, it needs to be special. Limited edition prints fulfill that need. They are accessible yet not widely available. This means that the one chosen will not be on a teenager’s wall next to a pop artist’s poster, unless that teenager is quite discerning. Charles Wysocki limited edition prints fit that bill and do it very well.

Many people do not think they know Charles Wysocki, but they have seen his work or at least work influenced by him. In many ways Charles Wysocki is the epitome of the American artist. He is the son of a Polish immigrant father and a first generation Polish mother. Born during the depression in Detroit, Michigan, he finished high school and was drafted during the Korean War but did his service in Germany. After finishing his service, he used the G.I. Bill to put himself through art school at the Art Center in L.A.

The Art Center was good to Wysocki and he became a successful commercial artist. He even founded a freelance company in L.A. Though somewhat successful, his artist’s heart had a different calling. Oddly, it was a different style than he had been exposed to growing up in Kansas or what he had studied in L.A.

Wysocki was fascinated by the work of the folk artists of New England. He learned how to use a limited field-of-depth, basic colors and bold lines to paint timeless paintings. While he is known for paintings of pre-1900's New England, he also is know for another subject; cats.

Why he had such a fascination with cats might never be known, but his treatment of them has affected almost all kitty painters since. When someone picks up a greeting card with a painting of a cat on it, they can be assured that if the image of that cat has an emphasis on the circular feline body shapes and a limited depth of field, that the artist embraced the influence of Charles Wysocki. That was the way he portrayed them, especially his favorite one to paint, his iconic mackerel tabby.

Charles Wysocki paintings and prints bring a warmth and innocence to any room. They are of a time before the modern chaos, of a simpler era when horsepower meant how many were hitched to your buggy, the doors could be left unlocked, and tabbies slept peacefully on bookcases. Purchasing Charles Wysocki limited edition prints is a timeless investment in Americana and a true American artist.


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