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Charles Craig Art

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Self-taught artist Charles Craig (1846 – 1931) was born in Ohio on a farm in Morgan County. He began painting as a boy, and created his palette from canvases made from oil and from natural materials and flour treated cotton cloths. He was an important Western landscapist, Indian genre painter, and illustrator. His work in art began on a serious note when he made a trip to the west up the Missouri River in 1865. He went as far as Fort Benton in Montana and spent four years with the Indian tribes. On his return from the trip, he opened his own studio Zanesville, Ohio. He started to paint and sell portraits from photographs or from life. He sold each piece at $75 and managed to raise enough money to pay tuition fee at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art which he decided to join. He also studied with the younger brother of Thomas Moran called Peter Moran. After his graduation from the academy, Craig returned to Zanesville where he painted Custer’s Last Charge, using implements and descriptions from the battlefield. In 1881, he again decided to move to Colorado Springs, Colorado. On his way and at the urging of Jack Howland, fellow painter, he became the first major artist from the west to paint in Taos, New Mexico. His many trips to southwestern Colorado to the Ute reservation made his paintings of this period to have the accuracy of ethnological detail. His art is important as a preservation of the Indian culture. That’s why framed Charles Craig art are very popular among historians.
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