In June 1962 American Artist magazine celebrated its silver anniversary with a special issue. Both the cover and Contents page declared the significance of the issue. This was Volume 26, Number 6, Issue 256, June-July-August 1962. American Artist was a Watson-Guptill Publication. Charles White was the subject of a substantial appreciation, written by Janice Lovoos, that appeared on pages 96 - 102, 119, and 120 of this issue.
"The Remarkable Draughtsmanship of Charles White" carried 12 reproductions of White's work, plus a small photograph of the artist, on the first page of the feature. Trailed on the Contents page as "Charles White, Draughtsman", Lovoos' text began, "TRUTH, BEAUTY, AND REALITY, these qualities are all that art is really concerned with. An artist doesn't do but one picture in his life. I'm concerned with life and people, and my work is both extremely personal and objective."
Charles White, gifted Altadena artist, talked with us in the studio adjacent to his home. he continued, "From the time I was seven, I never wanted to do anything but paint. The idea was a natural thing that grew out of my own feeling. I grew up in Chicago - very, very poor. we lived in the only house in our block that was heated by an oil stove. My mother had been a domestic worker since she was eight. My father worked in the steel industry and finally ended up as a post-office worker.
"I was twelve years old before I met a real 'live' artist," he recalls with amusement. "I knew people painted on something called canvas. It looked like our window shades at home." The embryo artist painted his first oil on one of these shades! "I remember I got an awful spanking for it," he recounts soberly. At fifteen he began exhibiting with a group of Chicago artists who showed their work anywhere that offered space: local churches, empty stores, vacant lots. While still in his teens, White's art education was furthered somewhat when he obtained a job as cook and valet for [Antimo] Beneduce. "An interesting guy," is White's comment. "I learned a great deal from him, just watching him work."
White claims to have been a rebellious young man who resisted school but was nevertheless deeply concerned with learning. He explains, "I had to find out some things about me as a Negro. teachers couldn't help me; they almost made me a delinquent."
Many pages later, this substantial appreciation's concluding paragraph included, "To date, White has been given fourteen one-man shows. With the exception of the first two shows, everything was sold out. He has been fortunate in selling all the work he produces."