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 Charles H. Rudy  (1904 - 1986)

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Lived/Active: New York/Pennsylvania      Known for: welding scrap sculpture-animals, insects, figures

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Ad Code: 4
Charles H Rudy
from Auction House Records.
Mountain Cat
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Known for "strange animals and figures" made from scrap steel, Charles Rudy did most of these signature pieces when he worked as a welder of glider planes noses at the Pitcairn-Larsen Autogiro Company at Willow Grove, New Jersey.  He took a job there during the summer of 1943 when he was age 39 and was too old to serve in the military. 

During his time off, "he began to play around with unusable bits of scrap steel left over from regular welding jobs.  Soon to the astonishment of his fellow workers, these lively figures began to take shape," and because of their enjoyment, these co-workers began to look around for likely pieces that Rudy could use. 

During this time, he lived with his wife on a 70 acre farm in Ottsville, Pennsylvania, property they had purchased in 1936 and where they located his studio, and she sometimes served as his assistant.  His talent as a serious sculptor was already recognized, and in 1942, he won a Guggenheim Fellowship for monumental figure work. 

Editor, "Scrap Sculpture", LIFE magazine, December 20, 1943, Courtesy, James R. Bakkom, Minneapolis, MN

Biography from James A. Michener Art Museum:
Charles Rudy:
BORN: November 14, 1904, York, Pennsylvania
DIED: April 24, 1986, Doylestown, Pennsylvania

To some extent, Rudy's highly-prized sculpture is a reflection of his love of-if not Ottsville then-southeastern Pennsylvania. For Rudy's sculpture is clean, simple, strong; it has its basis in southeastern Pennsylvania's virtues. And it runs to such themes as Young Bull and Pennsylvania Farm Wife. - Bern Ikeler, Bucks County Traveler, 1952

Charles Rudy achieved national status as a sculptor for his work on public buildings across the country, as well as for his prize-winning sculptures.  His most famous commissions included Noah on the Bronx post office in New York, the Sun Seaman's Memorial in Delaware, and the Confederate War Memorial on Stone Mountain in Georgia.

Some local commissions are the frieze on the Lehigh County court house, two bas-relief profiles of Benjamin Franklin on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia, and the flagpole base outside the University of Pennsylvania.

His work has been exhibited at such prestigious institutions as the Corcoran Gallery, the Carnegie Institute, and the National Sculpture Society, as well as at local Bucks County galleries. One of his most popular sculptures, The Letter, won a gold medal award from the National Sculpture Society. Rudy's artistic development started in the stained glass studio of his father, artist Horace Rudy, and continued during his education at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

A 1942 Guggenheim fellow, Rudy taught as the head of Cooper Union's sculpture department for ten years.  He also held teaching positions at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art, Michigan State College, and Philadelphia Museum School of Art.

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