Charles Clarence Lidberg 1902-1972
Most of Charles Lidberg's works place him as a New England regional artist of the mid-twentieth century.
Charles Lidberg was born in Astoria, Oregon in 1902 and raised in an orphanage in Portland from the time he was nine.
Charles' academic and artistic skills attracted considerable attention, including that of a high school teacher who financially helped his attendance at the University of Oregon at Eugene. His work at the University resulted in a scholarship to the Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts, located 40 miles outside of Paris.
He booked passage on a ship to Europe and furthered his art studies in Paris at the Fontainebleau School of Arts in the late 1920's. Lidberg became a freelance artist in Paris living in Montmartre in a cold flat apartment.
He met Dorothy Harkins from Boston, Massachusetts at the Fontainebleau School of Music and Art where she was studying piano, and they were married in the chapel at Fontainebleau and lived in Paris two years before they were forced to leave and move back to the states during the economic depression.
Charles worked for a photographer in New York City for a year tinting photos along with Ralph William Williams, the future Breck Artist, just to support them both. Dorothy taught piano.
Mr. Lidberg had his first art exhibition in Cambridge, Massachusetts about 1934.
Charles and Dorothy Lidberg moved to Boston where Dorothy's family lived in 1935.
Charles' early love for Oregon landscapes changed to a great fondness for French ones.
He supported himself by doing portrait sketches, a skill which would serve him well during the Depression.
He supported his wife and daughter, Arlene, born in 1936, by going door to door selling pastel portraits for $5.00 a piece. Eventually, his subjects began coming to his studio as the artist received portrait commissions from prominent Massachusetts politicians and celebrities (Mayor Curley and family) and (Governor Tobin) and (Senator Harrington) including a six foot tall portrait of Ted Williams and another six foot painting of Harry Aggannis. These portraits now hang at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
His love for his adopted New England home began to show in an increasing number of regional subjects. A painting of the Boston State House and its holiday decorations became the first of series of Christmas Scenes of historical sites in Massachusetts that enjoyed considerable success. These were followed by commissions for other works based on the region's past that extended back to the earliest days of colonization. At the same time, his artistic eye was fascinated by the contemporary scenes of Boston and its surroundings, especially those of seaside communities such as Rockport on Cape Ann where the family often spent its summers.
Later in the 1950's he became an Art Teacher at the Butera School of Art.
Charles Lidberg died in July 1972.
Submitted by Arlene Lidbergh-Jasper, daughter of the artist.