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 Charles Chilcote  (late 19th/20th centuries)

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Lived/Active: Ohio      Known for: portrait, figure, landscape paintings

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Sudanese vase with white crane
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following was submitted by Charles Kendall

So I was told --this is from my memory:
Charles Chilcote was raised by his mother (widowed and remarried) and stepfather, my grandparents, Rosswell and Azora Johnson, in a small community, White Cottage, Ohio.  My mother, Martha Jane Johnson and her younger brother John J.Johnson were his half-siblings.
They attended a one room schoolhouse in White Cottage but when Charles demonstrated an artistic talent, he was removed from school at age 12 years, and "apprenticed out" to the Pottery Works (don't immediately remember the name; may have been "Weller's" ), as an assistant to several French Ceramic artists employed there.

Uncle Charlie learned ceramics, glazes, etc.from these artists, who, my Uncle told me, were so jealous and reticent to share their work with their fellow artists that they destroyed unused glazes each day (poured glazes down floor drains).

When the depression hit, the Zanesville Potteries closed and Charlie and his brother John
traveled to New York City, to seek some sort of employment.

Some hunger, some time passed, some employment opened for Charlie (don't know about John), when a pottery works on Long Island New York commissioned him to go to Europe, specifically to copy the glazes and patterns of new French and Italian pottery creations and send drawings and descriptions back to his employer.  Uncle Charlie showed me one such notebook with quite detailed drawings (all done in black and white - no colors, as I remember), with accompanying dimensions, and while I do not remember what was written about glazes, I presume they were described as well. 
At some point - where? when? I do not know, Uncle Charlie crossed paths with another American artist from a well-to-do family from Zanesville, Ohio, Karl Kappes.  They became lifelong friends and when Kappes felt he was dying, he gave a number of his paintings to my Uncle with a request that he sell them, one at a time and dole out the monies to Kappes common law wife, as he felt she was unable to manage any sizeable sums.  I went with my Uncle to deliver one such payment and saw the lady, but cannot describe her other than her clothing which I remember as either black or at least dark in color.  Charlie pulled up to a curb -got out and went around the car, a darkly dressed lady appeared from a building; she was smiling and she and Charlie spoke with some animation for a few moments, Charlie returned to the car and we left.  Uncle Charlie continued these payments for her lifetime.

Uncle Charles made his living as an employee of Sherman-Williams Paint Company, and sold to industrial accounts, such as the City of Detroit, the Shipyards, and various industries.  He and his wife Linda lived for some years in an apartment building in Detroit.  They had no children, and eventually moved to Gross Isle, an island in the Detroit river where they purchased a small house and woodlot (and where Charlie built by his own hands, with much fine wood inlay, a small studio where he taught painting, ceramics, and sculpture to students).

Charlie loved to entertain - as I remember him, he was a lean, smallish guy with a deep booming voice, large adams apple, and a wonderful laugh.  His favorite food seemed to be sauerkraut with a fat sausage.  He was seldom without a cigar, which he chewed rather than smoked, and occasionally, was chased from the house when he left a well chewed cigar on the living room mantle!!

Charlie eventually went into an elder care facility where he passed away at 96 years. While at that facility, a reporter from the  Zanesville newspaper sought him out for his knowledge of the Weller Pottery Works and the various artists for a story of the history of those events and people. Uncle Charlie was pleased to oblige!

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