Last month, Faythe Levine, who produced the documentary Handmade Nation, visited Cincinnati for a screening of the film, and also took in some local sights, including one of our personal favorites — the Charley Harper mosaic mural in the Federal Building downtown. See more of her photos of the mural on her blog, and more photos from her trip at the Journal Sentinel.
Charley Harper was born in Frenchton, West Virginia and studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he met his wife Edie. During his long and distinguished career, he illustrated numerous books, including The Golden Book of Biology, magazines such as Ford Times, as well as many prints, posters, murals, and other works. His work focused on the natural environment, and Harper often created works for 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.
Harper was best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations. He called his style “minimal realism,” capturing the essence of his subjects with the fewest possible visual elements. Using graphic shapes and bold colors, Harper distilled and simplified complex elements. His nature-oriented artwork is often contrasted with the realism of John James Audubon and the simplicity found in Inuit Art.
Cincinnati-based Fabulous Frames & Art is a family-owned business and the world’s largest dealer in the work of Charley Harper, including his books, serigraphs, lithographs, giclee prints, and posters. We are proud to also carry work by Charley’s wife Edie Harper and their son Brett Harper.