Charles Beck "Winter Tree" Woodcut, 1985
Charles Beck was born in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, USA, in 1923 and died there in 2017 at the age of 94. Fergus Falls is a small town in western Minnesota near the Red River Valley.
The landscape consists of rolling hills, lakes, and country farms with diverse flora and fauna. The region was settled to a large extent by Scandinavian immigrants in the 19th century. Besides stints in the U.S. Navy at the end of WWII and the University of Iowa, Charles lived his whole life in Fergus Falls. To his relatives, it seemed completely normal to be a working artist in a small rural town, but of course this was not the case.
Through his life's work, Charles became a highly recognized regional artist whose work at the boundary of realism and abstraction captured the natural world in this part of the country.
His paintings and woodcuts are housed in homes and galleries around the world. One early painting was exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. In spite of his rising fame later in life, he maintained low prices for his works so that average people could enjoy his art in their homes. In this way he became part of the cultural fabric of the region. Remarkably, he continued his work