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 Charles Kerins  (1915 - 1988)

About: Charles Kerins


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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: illustrator, portrait, genre, figure

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BIOGRAPHY for Charles Kerins
1915 (Brookline, Massachusetts)
1988 (Pocasset, Massachusetts)


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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biography is based on information from Abby Willowroot, daughter of the artist:

Charles Kerins as an illustrator created paintings that are a chronicle of the American life and a small town boyhood in the 1950's and 60's. He was also a skilled portraitist.

Kerins was born December 7, 1915 in Brookline Massachusetts and died January, 1988 in Pocasset, Massachusetts.

He was a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art, earning a BFA and Northeastern University where he earned a BA degree. From Bridgewater State College, he earned an MA degree. He founded the Art Department at Stonehill College, North Easton, Massachusetts and for several years after founding the art department, was a professor at Stonehill College.

Kerins was an American illustrator whose work appeared in "Saturday Evening Post," "Look" magazine, and "Life" magazine. He was the cover artist for "Catholic Boy" & "Catholic Miss" magazines for many years. He was a cover artist for both the Converse Yearbooks and the Boston Red Sox Yearbooks in the 1950's and 1960's

Charles Kerins created paintings of American life for Converse Sneaker, William Barry Jackets, Rock of Ages, Milton Bradley, Houghton Mifflin, Vermont Life, Dennison, Ginn Publishing, Bell Telephone, Moxie, HP Hood, Duran Chocolates, The Gas Company and Red Feather. He was voted as one of "America's Top 100 Illustrators".

Mr. Kerins painted many portraits in oils, including: John F. Kennedy, Richard Cardinal Cushing, Laura Bone, Ted Williams, Annabelle O'Connor, Abby Willowroot, Kathryn L. Kerins, Elizabeth Ashton, The Simmons girls, Colonel Sumner, and many others. His studios were in Boston, Scituate, and Pocasset, Massachusetts.

His Vermont Life Insurance Ad appeared in the "Saturday Evening Post" July 1953 issue. This Ad was part of a series of "Great Americans" paintings by Charles Kerins that appeared in the "Saturday Evening Post" in the 1950s.

Charles Kerins studied under the Sculptor Cyrus Dallen, an artist who had a profound effect upon Charles' perception of space and form. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum were his favorite places to spend Sundays. He spent every Sunday afternoon for 25 years at one of these museums, studying painting technique and learning from the masters. His favorite painters were Rembrandt, Michelangelo, John Singer Sargeant, Titian and Vermeer. His favorite Illustrators were Norman Rockwell, Howard Pyle, and Harry Anderson.

Mr. Kerins was voted one of "America's Top 100 Illustrators" in the 1950s. His true passion was oil portraiture. Many of Mr. Kerins portraits hang in many Colleges, Hospitals, Institutions and private collections. His portraits were done in life size or three-quarter life size.

Charles Kerins principal Studio was at Scituate, Massachusetts. It was ideal for painting with an entirely glass north wall. Like Rockwell, Kerins painted from live models, he also photographed them. His favorite model was JoAnn Mulcahey, because of her strong resemblance to the well known Boston model Irene Hennessey. Another model he often used was "Chuck" Mark Goddard, who later starred as Don West in the TV show "Lost in Space. Bubby Turner and Richard Murphy who also appeared frequently in Kerins paintings.

Rock of Ages Memorial Co. commissioned Charles Kerins to do an oil painting as a companion piece for a Norman Rockwell painting, they had previously commissioned.

Charles Kerins had nine children, including sculptor Abby Willowroot and the painter Leslie Kerins. He was married for 30 years to his agent and wife Kathryn L. Kerins, and his second wife was Dona Kerins.

Mr Kerins was a Massachusetts State Champion in Decathlon. During college, he trained for a career as a Professional Boxer, but abandoned it when he realized it would damage his hands, leaving him unable to draw at his best.

Charles Kerins was a U.S. Naval Chief Petty Officer in WWII and trained troops at Fort Sampson, NY. The artist was an omnivorous reader with a biting and satiric wit.

Charles Kerins was often heard muttering "Rembrandt could paint like a son of a bitch, god he was good!"

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