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 Charles Goslin  (1931 - )

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Lived/Active: Kansas/Missouri      Known for: sculpture, murals, western and rural landscape painting

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Charles Goslin
An example of work by Charles Goslin
Photo provided by Scott Wilder
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following biography, submitted August 2006, is from Scott Wilder, Fine Art Researcher of Kansas and Missouri artists.
 
Charles Goslin was born in Columbia, Mo. in 1931, and graduated from  Hickman High School, Columbia, Mo. in 1949.  He is a former Hallmark artist who is well-known for his historic murals at Shawnee, Merriam, and Mission [Kansas] city halls, has painted Charles Bluejacket several times. And he jumped at the opportunity to sculpt him, though he hadn't sculpted much since graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1953.
 
Goslin, is the Shawnee historical artist who sculpted the new larger-than-life image of the Rev. Bluejacket that now sits at the corner of Johnson Drive and Cody in Shawnee [Kansas].
 
Goslin had long stayed out of the fray over the race of the Rev. Bluejacket, believing that, regardless of whether his grandfather was white or red, he was a great man who deserved to be immortalized in bronze.
 
Goslin, who said some interpretive markers may be installed near the sculpture, became interested in local history after moving to Shawnee [Kansas] with his wife, fellow artist Liz Goslin, in 1955. A few years later, Goslin learned that the old stone house near Shawnee Mission Parkway and Nieman, where wagonmaster Dick Williams used to serve travelers on a branch of the Santa Fe Trail, was to be demolished to make room for a grocery store parking lot. Goslin got the store owners, Albert and Dick Van Lerberg, to hold off on the demolition, and volunteers numbered the stones in the old home, disassembled them and stored them in Shawnee Mission Park. Though the wagonmaster's house was never restored, Goslin said, he became hooked on local history in the process of trying to save the historic landmark.
 
Subsequently, Goslin has depicted the area's trail history on dozens of canvases, including murals at the National Frontier Trails Center in Independence, Mo., and the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City, Mo. "And recently the National Parks Service has used me quite a bit for Santa Fe and Oregon Trail interpretive sites," Goslin said.
 
Goslin also has painted many re-creations of American Indian history - a passion he acquired from a grandfather in Columbia, Mo., who had a Marmaduke-like story of his own to spin. "We used to sit on the porch at my Grandpa Ollie Goslin's house," Goslin recalled, "and on hot summer nights he would tell us honest-to-goodness stories about our family - about how his grandfather was captured by Indians on the Santa Fe Trail." After living with the Comanche for a couple of years, Goslin said, his great-great-grandfather returned to his family's homestead in Boone County, Mo., bringing with him an Indian friend, who had not been a member of the Comanche tribe they'd been living with.
- The Johnson County Sun
By Rob Roberts, Sun Staff Writer
August 28, 2003
 
####### Another article about Charles Goslin #######
 
Creating Art for History's Sake. With help from Charles Goslin, the frontier lives again.?
 
Artist Charles Goslin of Shawnee [Kansas] would rather talk about history than about himself. He says that being an artist has a broad definition.  In keeping with this idea, Goslin uses a varied palette---watercolor, acrylics, sculpture--- to bring frontier history to life wherever he goes.
 
A graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute and a retired Hallmark artist, Goslin says history and art entered his life almost concurrently.  In 1959, Charles Goslin involved himself in Shawnee town history by fighting to preserve one of its historic buildings, "the Wagon Master's House."
 
Built in the 1850s as a home for the Santa Fe Trail wagon master, Dick Williams, and his Shawnee Indian wife, Margaret, the house was nearly demolished to make parking space for a nearby store.
 
"I saw this beautiful house being threatened and I made friends with the folks who were threatening it," Goslin says. The artist's friends delayed demolition for eight months while Goslin preserved the home in his paintings and arranged for its stones to be numbered and moved to Shawnee Mission Park.  His research on the house uncovered stories about other figures in frontier Shawnee town, beginning a relationship with history that he calls "a romance that I've enjoyed all through the years."
 
Goslin actively supports Old Shawnee Town, where other historic buildings, moved and rebuilt, preserve the feel of the old frontier town.  He brought more of the town's stories to life in a 90-foot mural at City Hall, which includes Shawnee Indian Chief Blue Jacket and six of Blue Jacket's 23 children.  And Goslin recently was commissioned to sculpt Chief Blue Jacket for Herman Laird Park.
 
"Because although he wore many hats, the primary thrust of the sculpture is parenting," says Goslin, who notes that the statue will include two of the chief's children."  We know from accounts that he took time every day to read to those children and that he counseled them."
 
Goslin's passion for historical heroes enlivens his art, and history, for others. With paintings of historical scenes in the National Frontier Trails Museum, the Hollenberg Station Museum, National Parks Service interpretative sites and in several towns, Goslin shows the world the history he sees behind everyday life.

- Story by Rosanne Catalano





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