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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Charley Harper

Charley Harper (1922-2007) was an American Modernist painter. He was born in West Virginia and attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati, graduating in 1947. He won the Academy's first Stephen H. Wilder Traveling Scholarship.

After touring the western and southern parts of the United States, he returned to the Academy as a teacher. He later worked at a commercial firm before working on his own. With his wife Edie, also an artist, and their only child Brett Harper, he former Harper Studios.

During his career, he illustrated a number of books, best known among them The Golden Book of Biology. He also illustrated for magazines such as Ford Times, and created many prints, posters and other works.

He chose nature as his primary subject, with birds figuring prominently as his subject.

From, and
All images are from

Blue Jay

Green Jay

Cardinal with Seeds


Brown Creeper

Rosy Finch

Red Wing Blackbird

Swallow-tailed Kite
Painted Bunting
Western Tanager

Mountain Bluebird


  1. I never realized Charles Harper was a West Virginian. I've seen his work all over when I was growing up in PA. I always liked the birds.

    1. I never knew where he was from either, until I did the research for this post. I think his birds are so cheerful, in addition to being so modern.

  2. Love these! I've seen his work but didn't know who the artist was.

    1. They're so modern and cheerful. I love them too.

  3. Such delightful illustrations Dana......a mid-century but timeless feel about them.

  4. I should have bought a signed limited edition print I saw at the local antique store a couple years ago.

  5. There are several Charley Harper posters, that he did for the park service, available for free from the Government printing office