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"...No culture is an exclusive culture. All arts are influenced by other arts, and it's important to include historical perspective and be familiar with other arts."
After a brief career at Harvard University, where he was art editor of The Lampoon, Charles Child spent five years traveling and studying in Europe and Asia, which contributed to his great versatility as an artist. He made portraits, murals, and landscapes, illustrated children's books and poems, and designed fabric. He painted the stage curtain for the Bucks County Playhouse and a mural for the Doylestown Post Office. In 1942, he directed the art and music section of the Cultural Board of the State Department and later as an advisor on the arts and humanities, helped develop the cultural exchange program. He illustrated and wrote a book in 1965, Roots in the Rock, which was a non-fiction account of the building of his summer home in Maine. For many years Child wrote a weekly column for the New Hope Gazette called The Inner Eye, often focusing on his travels and his observations of contemporary life.
Charles Child in a newspaper clipping. Courtesy of the James A. Michener Art Museum archives.
Connection to Bucks County
Charles Child lived at Coppernose on Green Hill Road in Lumberville from 1930 to 1983. He moved to Pennswood Village after his wife's death. The Childs summered in Maine. He, and his wife Fredericka, were among the original stockholders of the Bucks County Playhouse. He became active in the preservation of wilderness tracts, such as Solebury's 800-acre Honey Hollow watershed in 1973. He illustrated The Story of Honey Hollow, This is New Hope, and I Married A Vagabond, Rachel Latta Franck's book about her life with travel writer Harry A. Franck.
Colleagues and Affiliations
Child's colleagues and friends included John Folinsbee, Harry Leith- Ross, and other artists of the New Hope school, as well as writer Budd Schulberg. Child was a member of the New Hope Art Associates and exhibited at its gallery, which was located in a building next to the Bucks County Playhouse. He also exhibited at Phillips' Mill.
Charles Child in front of the Bucks County Playhouse stage curtain. Photograph by Jack Rosen. James A. Michener Art Museum.
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Assistant to the Director, National Planning Association on the Arts, 1940
Director, Art and Music Division, Culture Board, State Department, 1942
State Department Advisor on Arts and Humanities (developed cultural exchange program), 1940s
Major Solo Exhibitions
Wooster Museum of Art, Wooster, Massachusetts, 1935
Crest Gallery, Bucks County area, Pennsylvania, 1958
Major Group Exhibitions
American Painting Today, Wooster Museum of Art, Wooster, Massachusetts, 1938
Woodmere Art Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1970
Swain's Art Gallery, n.d., Bucks County, Pennsylvania
50th Anniversary Retrospective Art Exhibition, Phillips' Mill, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 1979
An Evolving Legacy: Twenty Years of Collecting at the James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2009-2010
WPA Project, Mural at Doylestown Post Office, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1934
Rooted In the Rock, autobiography with illustrations by the author, 1964
Illustrations for The Story of Honey Hollow by P. Alston Waring
Illustrations for This is New Hope by the New Hope Historical Society, 1960
Selected book Illustrations
Rachel Latta Franck, I Married A Vagabond, illustrations by Child, 1950s
Leonard Bacon, Rhyme and Punishment, illustrations by Child, 1936
Burning City, illustrations by Child, 1936
Leon W. Dean, Green Mountain Boy: The Story of Seth Warner, illustrations by Child
Rosemary Benet, A Book of Americans, juvenile poetry, illustrations by Child, 1933
Stephen Vincent Benet, Johnny Pye and the Fool-Killer, children's book, illustrations by Child, 1938
Weekly newspaper column, The Inner Eye for the New Hope Gazette, New Hope, PA