The Lithographs of Charles Banks Wilson
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
280 Pages | 9 x 12 | 121 b&w illus.
Although known primarily for his illustrations, murals, and portraits, Charles Banks Wilson things of himself chiefly as a lithographer. "Lithography," he says, "is what made an artist of me." The 118 lithographs collected here, each reproduced from an original print in the artist’s own collection, represent fifty years of experience in the medium.
True to the American regionalist tradition that influenced him, Wilson has used his own surroundings as subject matter, producing an intensely personal record of his own time and place-an Oklahoma of varied landscapes and of farmers, cowboys, miners, and Indians.
The prints reproduced here are a representative sample of Wilson’s long and prolific career in lithography. Well represented are the Indian subjects for which he is most famous, including the entire Tel Little Indians series, the Plains Madonna, and portraits from the Search for the Purebloods series. Several rural landscapes, immensely popular among collectors, are included, as are prints based on Wilson’s best work in other media: book illustrations (of J. Frank Dobie’s The Mustangs, for example), murals (the Oklahoma State Capitol murals, for instance), and portraits (including Will Rogers, Jim Thorpe, and Sequoyah).
Design and printing techniques are inseparable components of stone lithography, and Wilson’s works embody the skills of both artist and craftsman. His descriptions of the lithographic process are of a discipline demanding patience, foresight, dexterity, and the sheer physical strength to manipulate a printing stone that may weigh as much as two hundred pounds.
The first published collection of Charles Banks Wilson’s lithographs, this unique, personal documentary includes a biographical sketch of the artist, annotations for each print, and a description of stone lithography by the artist himself. It will be judged an important contribution to contemporary art studies, and all collectors and admirers of stone lithographs, particularly those of Charles Bands Wilson, will find it a valuable reference.