Charles Beck: 1923-2017

December 1, 2017 - February 6, 2018

The Ruth and Seymour Landfield Atrium

In 2017, the Northern Plains lost one of its most beloved artists – Charles Beck – at the age of 94, leaving an unrivaled artistic legacy. Beck attended Concordia College (Moorhead, MN) where he furthered his artistry under the influential painter Cy Running. His art studies were interrupted by World War II, where he enlisted in the Naval Air Corps to train as a pilot. On home for leave, Beck would marry Joyce Hagge, his wife of 69 years. The couple settled in Fergus Falls (MN), where Charles would become a sign painter, and eventually teach art for 28 years, at what is now Minnesota State Community and Technical College. Beck’s influence would be felt for decades to come, fueling an artistic renaissance on and off campus. As a life-long wood-carving printmaker and sculptor, as well as a skilled painter, Beck’s creative life epitomized his never ending work ethic. It was nature that inspired his unmistakable work, which distilled the complexity of the landscape to its essential shapes and colors. This earthiness is combined with a flat, modern aesthetic that inexplicably retains a sentimental quality. “Art is a lot like life,” Beck said to the Fargo Forum in 2013, “It’s a lot of little things that happen that you never planned on that can be nice, but you can’t sit back and wait for luck to take hold. You get lucky in the process.”

  • Charles Beck Winter 2, 1974 Woodblock Permanent Collection

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