Charles Turzak - Printmaker, Painter, Illustrator,
Watercolorist, Cartoonist, Designer,
Author, Lecturer, Teacher.
His extensive colonial calendar series of eight American statesmen's lives, illustrated in woodcuts with 13 images each,
done for Federated Hardware Mutual Insurance Company, reached its final printing in 1940. The new decade ended
W.P.A. and began W.W.II. Soldiers, bombers, and tanks once again covered his drawing board. Many of his freelance
clients converted to defense related production, as advertising played a major roll in the war effort. Victory gardens,
war bonds, blackout shades, meatless meals, ration coupons, limits and restrictions were visible reminders everywhere.
The fine quality, imported hand-made papers used for his prints were no longer available. Few editions of woodcuts
were completed during the war years. But, Boyhood Nostalgia, Lady at the Stove, The Washing Machine
and others used commercially in publications and advertisements did get an appearance. The 100 year old Baby
Reliance proof press on which he had pulled all his prints was abandoned to an out of the way corner in the studio.
||C. T. Cutting Block
||Lady at Stove.
He became the Art Director for two Chicago Publishers: WHAT'S NEW IN HOME ECONOMICS, Harvey
and Howe Publications; and HYGEIA, the American Medical Association's monthly magazine, renamed
TODAY'S HEALTH, A.M.A. Publications. Watercolors done on Sunday afternoons in the nearby country
side and the Des Plaines Forest Preserves such as: Falling Leaves, Yellow Tree, The Picnic Place,
The Golfer, The Harbor, Feeding the Birds, The Red Barn, White Boat, and, Farm 'n the Hills were
welcome relief to his increasing advertising pace.
|The Picnic Place
||Farm 'n Hills.
Over the years, social engagements and art functions had brought the Turzaks and the Wrights, Frank Lloyd
and Olgivanna, into an acquaintanceship. They had often visited each other both in Chicago and at Taliesen,
the Wright's hillside home, and studio/ school of architecture in southwestern Wisconsin, near Spring Green.
After the war ended, the Wright's held a grand weekend get-together for their mid-western friends with Charles
and Florence being among the invited guests. This visit with Frank and Olgivanna would prove to be their last,
as Taliesen West, near Scottsdale, Arizona, was to become the Wright's permanent home and the new
headquarters for the Wright School of Architecture.
||C.T. at Wright House.
Charles' hobby of photography had advanced to a serious endeavor by the late '40's. Combining
Florence's writing skills with his photographic skills, they once again collaborated on a project,
this time in the area of children's art. Through the enthusiastic cooperation obtained from Hull
House in Chicago, research released from several museums' archives, the vast collection of
their daughter's and other children's art including children in Japan, they prepared a highly informative
lecture with slides. It addressed the question; "Do You Recognize Your Child's Artistic Talent?"
They showed that all children, regardless of their environment, put their conceptions of an idea in drawings
with remarkable accuracy. But, because of the inability of parents or teachers to interpret the
artwork from a child's point of view, the child becomes discouraged; seeing himself as void of
communication through artistic expression. A variety of clubs and the Association of Parents
and Teachers quickly supported and welcomed their many presentations.
For two decades his prints, paintings, and watercolors had been appraised by art critics and
reviewers such as: Alice Lawton, Fanny Butler, Eleanor Jewett, K.H. Kruger, and C.J. Bulliet.
He had been referred to as, "an artist of impulse", showing "extraordinary ability",
and having a "fine knowledge of his material". His work was said to be, "exciting", "brilliant",
"powerful", "magnificently illustrative", possessing "sincerity and a starkly moving quality" with his
" compositions displaying gripping vigor". Newspaper and magazine articles had appearing in the
Philadelphia Record, the Boston Post. The Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Daily News, the Milwaukee
Journal, the Kansas City Times, The New York Times, The Literary Digest, The American Magazine of
the Arts, and many publications in foreign countries. His exhibits had spread from Chicago west to
Kansas City, east to Philadelphia, and north to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and to the Weyhe Gallery
that exhibited and represented his work in New York City.
The Library of Congress, The Chicago Historical Society, The Illinois Historical Society, The Art Institute
of Chicago, numerous universities, art museums, and corporate art portfolios had acquired his work for
their collections. His woodcut biographies had also become a part of private and public collections
throughout the United States and had reached into Canada, England, Germany, China, India and South Africa.
As one of the elite group of "Chicago Modernists of the 1930's", his exhibits in Chicago and various
cities had brought him and other artist together. Their mutual respect for and interest in each others work
formed many friendships… such as his with Rockwell Kent, Thomas Hart Benton, Melvin Albright and Ivan Albright.
His membership in The American Institute of Graphic Art, The Society of Typographic Art, and The Art Directors Club
of Chicago, had won him honors and awards for his commercial art achievements in their advertising shows and competitions.
The Art Institute of Chicago had named him a Life Member and his listing in WHO'S WHO IN 20th CENTURY AMERICAN ARTISTS
(1898-1947) had acknowledged his place in the art world.
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