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 Charles Howard Sanderson  (1925 - 1993)

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Lived/Active: Kansas      Known for: abstract real landscape

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Charles Sanderson
An example of work by Charles Howard Sanderson
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Charles Sanderson was a painter of abstract-realist Kansas landscapes. He born in Hamilton, Kansas in the heart of the Flint Hills. He studied architecture at Kansas State University, and then transferred to Emporia State University where he received a BA Degree in art education. At Fort Hays State University in western Kansas, he earned an MA Degree in Fine Arts.

He choose a career teaching art in Kansas public schools and was in Altoona, Lyons, El Dorado and then in Wichita for twenty-six years. From there he also taught at Kansas State University, Wichita State University, Friends University as well as the Wichita Center for the Arts and the Wichita Art Museum. He was a member of The Artists Guild of Wichita, and in 1988 he won the Kansas Governors Award.

The following, from the website of the Coutts Memorial Museum, provides further information about his life.

Charles Sanderson married Ruth Wachholz in 1952, shortly before beginning his teaching job in El Dorado, moving to Wichita in 1959. His artistry and reputation grew. For more than 35 years he maintained a full schedule of painting and art instruction, spearheading experimentation and development in an endless variety of styles and techniques.

His daughter, Charla, found the following scrawled on two sheets of paper in his sketchpad. "The paintings are my feelings of Kansas. They are not copies of Kansas, but expressed through my ability to paint. I do not believe they are great examples of art, but they do depict my honest statement of Kansas. I don't like to paint pretty pictures, but try to force the observer to think about the moods of Kansas. I would love to paint in the style of DaVinci, Pollack, Wyeth, Peak and others. I know my limitations to paint, but strive to improve. I've learned to appreciate all of the arts, which is important for every artist to grow within themselves." Originally, he had written this line: "I know my abilities to paint." But then he scratched out "abilities" and substituted "limitations."

Charles developed a distinctive artistic vision that has made him one of Kansas' most respected artists. He served as juror and lecturer and gave watercolor demonstrations to fill his already busy schedule. A founder and five times president of the prestigious Kansas Watercolor Society, he was a leader in making the annual exhibition one of the best regional shows in the nation.

In 1985 Charles retired from teaching, planning to devote full time to enhancing his career as an artist. He said this about teaching, "I know there are some students I can't reach. Others you just click with. They know what you're trying to get them to do ... I'm for creativity, and there have been a lot of things created in this room. There have been wild days and calm days. And days I didn't understand at all. It's gone by fast. Yes, I'm going to miss it."

Unfortunately, Charles' life also went by too fast. He died in 1993, leaving a long list of artistic accomplishments for such a short life. His work was included in many juried National and Regional exhibits In Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Montana, Arkansas, Utah and France to name a few. He received numerous awards and was featured in many publications including Who's Who in American Art, Who's Who in the Midwest and Who's Who in Wichita.

The exhibit shows examples of his many styles of painting, but it is only a small portion of the extensive amount of work that he produced. The Coutts Museum is proud to have two works by Charles Sanderson in its permanent collection, "Snowblink" and "Untitled landscape." Also on temporary loan to the museum is "Refugee Family" which is owned by Jim and Ann Graham. Charles' work can be seen in many permanent collections that include a lengthy list of museums, city buildings, colleges, libraries, schools and corporation and private collections worldwide.

Submitted September 2004 by Chris Ashworth, a researcher at the Ashworth Collection of Native American and Western Art

Coutts Memorial Museum

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Charles Howard Sanderson was born on March 6, 1925 in Hamilton, Kansas.  He studied architecture at Kansas State Univ., and then transferred to Emporia State Univ. where he received a BA Degree in art education.  At Fort Hays State Univ. he earned a MA Degree in Fine Arts. He choose a career teaching art in Kansas public schools and was at Altoona, Lyons, El Dorado and then at Wichita South High School for 26 years retiring in 1985.  He also taught at Kansas State Univ., Wichita State Univ., and Friends Univ. as well as the Wichita Center
for the Arts and the Wichita Art Museum.

Member: The Artists Guild of Wichita; Kansas Watercolor Society.

Exhibitions: Butler County Historical Society, 1961; Joslyn Museum Biennial; Louisiana Watercolor Society National Exhibitions; Southwest Arts and Crafts Festival; American Painters in Paris; Kansas Watercolor Society; Wichita Art Assoc, 1964; Wichita Center for the Arts, 1995; Coutts Memorial Museum, 1999.

Awards: Kansas Governor’s Artist Award, 1988. Collections: Sandzén Memorial Art Gallery;
Coutts Memorial Museum of Art.
Susan Craig, "Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945)"
AskART,, accessed Oct. 23, 2007; El Dorado Times (Dec. 13, 1961); Wichita Eagle (Feb. 24, 1985, Dec. 17, 1993); Topeka Public Library. Kansas Artists List. (Mar. 11, 1988).; Kansas! (1st issue, 1974).
This and over 1,750 other biographies can be found in Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) compiled by Susan V. Craig, Art & Architecture Librarian at University of Kansas.

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