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 Charlie Dye  (1906 - 1972)

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Lived/Active: Arizona/Colorado      Known for: cowboy-western genre painting, magazine illustration

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  AskART Artist  
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Canon City, Colorado, Charlie Dye became a painter of western genre inspired by the painting of Charles Russell.

From childhood, he was a sketcher, but it wasn't until a horse fell on him that he considered art as a career.  In the hospital recovering from his injuries, he saw reproductions of Russell's paintings in a magazine, and that exposure set his career of portraying the lives of cattlemen.

Charlie Dye worked as a cowboy in Colorado, Arizona, and California until he was 21 and then enrolled in Chicago at the Art Institute and the American Academy.  In 1936, he moved to New York City to work as a magazine illustrator and took lessons from Harvey Dunn, known as a great illustrator.  He also worked with Felix Schmidt in a commercial studio.

Dye was a successful illustrator in New York, doing assignments for Saturday Evening Post, Argosy, Outdoor Life and The American Weekly.  However, a trip to California alerted him to how little quality Western art existed, and he soon began vacationing and painting in the West, finally establishing a studio in Denver, Colorado and becoming a partner in the Colorado Institute of Art.

Because of the wide acceptance of his painting, he gave up teaching and illustrating and in 1960, moved to Sedona, Arizona, where he gained recognition for his oil paintings of western scenes.

On June 23, 1965, he, Joe Beeler, John Hampton along with George Phippen, organized the organization we now call The Cowboy Artists of America.  George Phippen was its first and Charlie Dye the second president.  The group is devoted to the painting and sculpture tradition of Charles Russell and Frederic Remington, and began with artists who not only depicted cowboys but were working cowboys themselves.

Sources include:
Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West
Exhibition Catalogues, Cowboy Artists of America
Files of the Phoenix Art Museum Library

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, II:
Born: Canon City, Colorado 1906
Died: Sedona, Arizona 1972

Traditional Western painter, illustrator.

Dye was born in a cow town and rode for ranches in Colorado, Arizona, and California until he was 21.  “I cannot recall a time when I was not at home on horseback, or that I didn’t portray the life I led with pen and pencil.”

During convalescence from a riding accident, he was influenced by Russell reproductions to become a commercial artist.  He painted at night at the Art Institute of Chicago and the American Academy.  In 1936, he moved to New York City to become a magazine illustrator, studying at night with Harvey Dunn.  He painted covers and illustrations for many of the major American publications.

His first Western easel paintings were successful.  In 1960, he moved to Sedona, Arizona.  In 1964, Dye, Joe Beeler, and John Hampton while on a roundup conceived the idea of the Cowboy Artists of America, an association of professional artist who paint cowboys and who are capable of working as cowboys.  They, along with George Phippen, founded the organization on June 23, 1965 with Phippen serving as first president while Dye became the second president of the Cowboy Artists of America: “I have always tried to paint what I can remember of a life I led before I became dishonest and studied art.  My old man could have forgiven me if I had turned out playing piano in a whore house, but artists rated one step below pimps in his book.”

Peggy and Harold Samuels, 1985, Castle Publishing

Biography from The Coeur d'Alene Art Auction:
Charlie Dye was born in Colorado and raised in the West.  He moved to Chicago to attend art school and began a successful illustrating and painting career in New York. Over the years his art appeared on the covers of almost every leading periodical of the day--Argosy, Outdoor Life, The Saturday Evening Post and many others.

Charlie was a cowboy at heart and a very successful artist in the field he knew and loved best.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Charlie Dye is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Western Painters

Explore Other Interesting Artists:
Olaf Wieghorst
Eanger Irving Couse
Charles Russell
Maynard Dixon
Gerard Curtis Delano
Frank McCarthy
Joe Beeler
Frederic Remington
Albert Bierstadt
Joseph Henry Sharp
Ernest Martin Hennings

See Artists Appearing in the Same Auctions:
Olaf Wieghorst

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