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State Street, Columbia
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."
The photos above are examples of the artist's work. The Vault
Gallery currently carries additional work by this artist.