Wildlife artist Charley Harper (American, 1922–2007) came by his love of nature as a child growing up in rural West Virginia. After studying at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and the Art Students League in New York City, he gained acclaim as a commercial illustrator for numerous publications, most notably The Golden Book of Biology and Animal Kingdom, children’s books published in the 1960s. As demand for his work grew, he went on to have a successful business producing limited-edition silkscreen prints.
Harper’s paintings and prints have been published by a variety of nature- and conservation-oriented organizations, such as the National Park Service, the Cincinnati Zoo, the Cincinnati Nature Center, the Hamilton County (Ohio) Park District, the Michigan Audubon Society, and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania. He created four large-scale ceramic tile murals on commission for Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center and John Weld Peck Federal Building and for the biology building at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He also designed interpretive displays for Everglades National Park, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology commissioned him to create a painting (We Think the World of Birds).
Describing his method of depicting wildlife, which winnowed out all but the most important details, Harper once said, “When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings; I just count the wings.” He asked viewers to “remember that I didn’t start out to paint a bird—the bird already existed. I started out to paint a picture of a bird, a picture which didn’t exist before I came along, a picture which gives me a chance to share with you my thoughts about the bird.”
Thirty color reproductions bound in a handy postcard collection. Oversized postcards measure 6 1/2 x 4 3/4 in.