Charles Frederick Surendorf
A Portrait of the Surendorf Family
The original block Lithocut destroyed in fire.
100 Prints only remain
WPA Artist 1906- 1979
Lithocut “Linoleum Engravings” Black Ink Print Unframed
Off White Paper
Image Size 12 x 14 .5″
Over All Print Size 14 x 16.5″
Priced: $300.00 plus shipping
Signed by Artist in Pencil on top
Numbered by Artist: 1st ed/100
Small fold right bottom outside image area
Television! Title written in pencil on top by artist on left side bottom
Charles Frederick Surendorf was born in Richmond, Indiana in November 1906. He left Richmond to spend time at the Chicago Art Institute, Art Student’s League, New York and two semesters at Ohio State University in the Fine Arts program. In 1929, he finally ended up, in his own words, “…rolling into Los Angeles seated on an orange crate strapped to a Model T Ford chassis.” He moved to San Francisco in 1935, by 1937 he had begun his first painting excursions to Columbia where he eventually settled with his wife, Barbara, in 1946. Charles Surendorf’s early prints were woodblock, but he soon moved to a process he called “Linoleum Engravings.” Unlike the usual linoleum block that is soft, Surendorf used “battleship” linoleum which he then further hardened by freezing.
The hardness closely approximated wood end-grain block. He then used steel engraving tools to engrave rather than cut the block. His prints were highly regarded. A list of print titles and dates prepared after his death shows 250 prints from as early as 1934 and as late as 1971. In 1959 Art Digest called him one of the top twenty-five woodblock artists of the world. Charles Surendorf died of lung cancer in May 1979 at his home in Columbia. He wrote to friends just months before his death: “It is evening and the Mother Lode was never before garbed in such lush green. The rains came early this year and started again yesterday evening…riddling the roof of my bedroom tin with such pleasant music it seemed a shame to sleep.”
Charles F. Surendorf II
Charlie graduated from Richmond High School with dreams of becoming a cartoon artist. The cold hard fact that drawing mice for Walt Disney was not what he truly wanted to do, but in that discovery, he made many friends in the industry. Here are a few examples of his work in 1924, and when he studied at the Chicago Arts Institute, he traded a photograph portrait sitting for this cartoon with famous photographer, Fernand de Gueldre. Ironicly, if you go to the link that I have provided, it tells a totally different story, so this will have to be Dad’s word, and J.P. McEvoy’s story, I will continue to research it more, but sure enjoy the search for the truth.
1979 – Charles Surendorf II Final Moments
Surendorf died of cancer at home with his family and friends at his side. The cancer had been diagnosed a year prior, which gave Surendorf a chance to get his art affairs in order. He donated his collection to Columbia Collegefor 30 years to show. After this term expired in 2009, his art was returned to the family.
1996 – Surendorf Gallery opens
October 9th marked the opening day of the Surendorf Gallery in Murphys, California. Once located at 472 Main Street, the Surendorf Gallery was proud to represent the entire collection of Surendorf’s blockprints, various watercolors, oils, and other art done in a chronological order of Surendorf’s life. The gallery changed exhibits every three months, and had enough original artwork to last through the year 2002 without repeating!
2001 – Surendorf’s art on a new adventure
The gallery closed in 2001, only for the work of Charles Surendorf II to begin a new journey – to reach the rest of the world through exhibitions and lectures, offered by Surendorf’s youngest daughter Cindy. She began guest lectures in schools and working on a book about her father’s life and work.
2010 – The Charles Surendorf II Art Foundation
Cindy organized the Charles Surendorf II Art Foundation, a non-profit public benefit corporation with other advisors and directors. The charter of the Foundation is to support art education in public and private schools with exhibitions, lectures, and workshops in our communities’ schools. The Foundation works directly with schools and community centers to bring the works, stories, and techniques of Charles Surendorf to schools and aspiring artists.
Bookmark this web site and return to find out when Surendorf exhibitions will visit your community. Contact Cindy if you’d like to host an exhibit, lecture, and/or workshop.