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 Charles William Bolsius  (1907 - 1983)

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Lived/Active: Arizona/New Mexico / Netherlands      Known for: landscape, desert landscape, American frontier paintings, prints, architecture, furniture

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
"The Challenge", 1954, oil on canvas, 36" x 32 1/4"
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Charles William Bolsius (full birth name: Carolus Godefridus Wihelmus Marianus Bolsius)  was born June 26, 1907 in the southern Bois-le-Duc region of the Netherlands.  His studies in art culminated at the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague. His early work was characterized by dark somber tones with a focus on austere terrain. 

In 1930, Bolsius traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico via Los Angeles to visit family.  Within a year he was living in rural New Mexico, drawing and painting the great American Southwestern landscape.  He exhibited in Santa Fe in 1934; later that year, moving to Tucson, Arizona.   With his brother and sister-in-law, he purchased the ruins of a Post Traders Store outside the crumbling ruins of Fort Lowell on the outskirts of Tucson.   The trio embarked on a major reconstruction project, not only redesigning the building, but transforming it from a Territorial style to modified Pueblo Revival.  They hand carved all the doors, beams, and furniture, combining the stylistic motifs of New Mexico and Holland.  

Bolsius continued painting throughout this period, his work evolving into a more American Regionalist style while retaining influences of German and Dutch Impressionism.   He enlisted in the U.S. Army during WWII.  After the war, he returned to Tucson to continue reconstruction of other Fort buildings.  Bolsius continued oil painting, producing wood block prints, and began taking commissions for his distinctive massive carved doors and fine furniture. His artistic style remained much as it had before the war and he exhibited throughout the southwestern states.  Bolsius lived in Tucson through his retirement, and died there on March 22, 1983.

1934  21st Fiesta Show - Santa Fe, New Mexico
1940  Santa Cruz Art League – Santa Cruz California
c.1940  Springville High School Art Association –  Springville, Utah. 
1947  Gump’s – San Francisco, California
1947  Palette and Brush Club – Tucson, Arizona

Tucson Fine Arts Association
Tucson Palette and Brush Club 
Southern Arizona Society of Painters and Sculptors

El Palacio, 1934. Exhibitions Page 92-94
The Desert Magazine May 1938 Just an Old Army Canteen, McKenney, J. Wilson Page 23.
Seagram Spotlight, January 1944 They Turned a Deserted Ruin into a Beautiful Home.
School Arts Magazine March 1944, Stanford University La Saetas: A Home Integrated with Creative Arts and Crafts Wadsworth, Beula M.. Page. 229
The Magazine Tucson October 1950 A Colorful Tucson Desert Home Wadsworth, Beula Page 20

These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Born in the Netherlands on June 26, 1907, Bolsius was a resident of Alameda in 1940.  By 1950 he was living in Tucson, Arizona. He died there in March 1983.

Exh: Santa Cruz Art League, 1940.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Social Security Death Index (1940-2002).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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