Charles Winstanley Thwaites (1904 - 2002)

Birth date: 3/4/1904 Death date: 11/21/2002  
Birth location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Death location: La Residencia, New Mexico  
Media: Graphic Art , Painting Web site:
Comprehensive (file rating) - Major Wisconsin artist file that includes comprehensive documentation on artist's life that can be researched on site at MWA.

Biographical Brief

Born Charles Thwaits and in 1931 changed the spelling of his name to Thwaites.
Husband of Antoinette Gruppe Thwaites.

Biography

Charles Winstanley Thwaites
Born 1904 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Died 2002 in La Residencia, New Mexico
Charles Thwaites was a painter and printmaker. He studied engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1924-1925, but after stumbling upon a portrait painting demonstration, he purchased art supplies and completed the first of many self-portraits. In 1926, Thwaites eschewed engineering and began studying at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, Wisconsin under Gerrit V. Sinclair.

In 1928, Thwaites taught art at the Dubuque Art Association in Iowa and by 1930, was teaching at the Layton School of Art. Born Charles Thwaits, he changed the spelling of his name to Thwaites in 1931. By 1933, Thwaites had a studio in the Plankinton Building; an artist colony of studios in downtown Milwaukee. He was also a member of the Wisconsin Painters & Sculptors.

In 1933-1934 he worked for the WPA (Works Progress Administration) on the Public Works of Art Project, Federal Art Project and the Treasury Relief Art Project. Thwaites painted four WPA Post Office murals, two in Wisconsin, one in Chilton, titled Harvest (Threshing Barley), 1940, Cheese Making in Plymouth, 1941. He also painted two out-of state murals, Lumbering in Greenville, MI, 1940 and in 1943 he did one in Windom, Minnesota.

In 1941,Thwaites married Antoinette Gruppe (1908-1991) a Milwaukee watercolorist and WPA artist. In the early 1950's  they visited the southwest, particularly New Mexico. Over the course of his career he did many notable portraits, including a series throughout the 1950' of the Taos Pueblo Indians in New Mexico. In 1957, Thwaites started exhibiting with the Taos Moderns and in 1962 they moved to Santa Fe, NM, where they would remain for the rest of their lives. In 1973-74, Thwaites was appointed artist-in-residence at St. John’s College in Santa Fe.

His paintings can be found in the following collections: State Historical Society of WI. Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, WI. Union Art Collection (UW-Milwaukee), Gallery 101 (UW-River Falls) and the Milwaukee Public Library. After his death CWT Art, LLC was founded by his heirs.

Selected Group Exhibitions

1900-1913 Society of Milwaukee Artists Annual Exhibitions, Milwaukee Public Library, Wisconsin
1931-1932  Annual Exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
1934-1936  Annual Exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
1937 Annual Exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
1939-1943  Annual Exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
1945-1946  Annual Exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL 
1948-1951  Annual Exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
1951
200 Watercolors, National (Mellon) Gallery Washington D.C.
1963
Wisconsin Artists – 1855 Until today, Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin
1964
WI. Painters & Sculptors 50th Anniversary Exhibition, Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin
1998
Foundations of Art In Wisconsin, West Bend Art Museum, Wisconsin
1998
150 Years of Wisconsin Printmaking, Elvehjem Museum of Art, UW-Madison
2008
Charles Thwaites a Retrospective, Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, Wisconsin

Selected Publications

c.1936 Art in Wisconsin by Porter Butts
1947  History of Milwaukee County by Milwaukee Public Library 
2008  The Art of Charles W. Thwaites: Freedom of Expression by Susan Hallsten McGarry 
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