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Two Boys on the Beach

Two Boys on the Beach

Two Boys on the Beach

Charles Lisanby
Ca. 1945

20 ¾ x 16 ½ in.; 52.7 x 41.9 cm.

Gift of Charles Lisanby 

This playful composition, which depicts two male youths relaxing on the beach, was done by Charles while he was in art school. After graduating from high school at the age of 16, Charles was given an opportunity to travel to New York, where he was first exposed to the professional art world. Although he had acquired a great appreciation for painting and creating from his mother, who was an artist herself, it was upon visiting the various museums in New York that Charles’ finally decided he wanted to be an artist himself. Upon returning home to Nashville, Charles applied for and was awarded a scholarship to an art school in Nashville that specialized in advertising art. “I didn’t want to be a fine artist and starve”, Charles recollects, “I wanted to be an illustrator like Norman Rockwell, my idol”.

The Second World War and the draft quickly put a damper on Charles’ artistic ambitions, as he was enlisted in the Army the next January and was shipped to Fort Mead, Maryland. A few months later, Charles contracted meningitis and was sent home and allowed to go back to art school. Left with only one obstacle to overcome—his father, who preferred that he go to medical school and gave him one year to establish himself as an artist in New York—Charles worked hard to prove himself and was able to quickly gain an entry-level position at an advertising agency in Manhattan.