CHARLES A.A. DELLSCHAU

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Charles A.A. Dellschau was an American artist born in Prussia in 1830. He is best known as one of the earliest known outsider artists in America.

Charles A.A. Dellschau came to Texas from Prussia in 1853. He was a butcher by occupation, and had only started making art after his retirement in 1899. While he was in California during the 1850’s, he joined the Sonora Aero Club. There are no historical data which proves that Dellschau even was in California, but people and places mentioned in his diaries suggests that he in fact was present there in that particular time. The Club was a group of people who shared a passion towards the possibility that humans could be flying, so the most of artworks are about flight machines.

It is only by sheer luck that his work is known. After his death, all of his work was stored in a Stelzig family house, where the artist spent his last years. The house caught on fire in the 60’s, and only by miracle did those old pages full of beautiful art survive. After the discovery of the artworks, a lot of attention was given to exploring if the Sonora Aero Club really existed, or if it all was imagined by Dellschau. In the end, there were twelve books with about two thousand pages containing amazing drawings, collages and representational paintings. Dellschau showed us that you are never too old to start making art, and that is of utmost importance to dream, for where would we be today without all of those dreamers in the past?

Biography courtesy of WideWalls. Portrait courtesy of John H. Lienhard.