|Charles Schucker, a pioneer American painter and Professor Emeritus of Pratt Institute School of Art and Design, was a Master Colorist.
He was born in Gap, Pennsylvania, in 1908 and attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, graduating with honors in 1933. After winning a scholarship for a trip to Europe, he settled in Chicago where he worked for the Works Progress Administration and had his first solo exhibition at the Benjamin Krohn Gallery in 1940.
In 1946, he moved to Brooklyn Heights, New York, teaching at New York University City College and from 1956 to 1985, the Pratt Institute. In New York, his style became increasingly abstract. Using poured oil paint thinned with turpentine, and unstretched canvases which were often cut and sewn to accommodate overlapping designs, Schucker achieved a personal imagery quite unlike that of other pourers, such as Morris Louis or Helen Frankenthaler.
It is an imagery that is abstract, but conveys the unmistakable aura and feel of landscape. This is not so much a matter of form as it is of color and movement; his paintings establish a kind of esthetic parallel to the large motions of sky and cloud, to the sweep of hills, to the glitter of sun and water.
Technically the artist's control of his difficult method is extraordinary. What matters in the end, however, is the visual poetry which these paintings evoke.
A family man, Charles avoided the New York social scene
frequented by his better-known colleagues. Unlike Jackson Pollack, he and Peggy Guggenheim never frolicked. He preferred to work in his studio at 33 Middagh St. in Brooklyn Heights (a federal house built in 1820, now a landmark) and his country studio in Katonah, New York. His beloved patron, Jack Baur, gave the Westchester county house to him for his use throughout his life. Baur was the curator of the Brooklyn Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Charles did many paintings of the New York skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. He was fascinated by city life, industrialism and exploration of space as demonstrated by his earlier works, including The Web, 1955.
Katonah summers bring back many fond memories for family and friends. A rustic shell of the original farmhouse, Charlie's country studio had no electricity or telephone. He used kerosene lamps, an icebox, and an outside shower. The solitary escape from the city and the gorgeous Hudson River landscape inspired many spectacular large canvases.
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