Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Charles E. Bauerle (1912-1952)

Charles E. Bauerle was born on March 17, 1912, in North Vernon, Indiana, into a growing family that eventually numbered at least nine children. The Bauerle family made its home on the south side of Indianapolis. I don't know much about Charles Bauerle, but in 1938-1939, at age twenty-six, he completed a series of murals on nautical subjects at the new Indianapolis Naval Armory (now Heslar Naval Armory). The armory was constructed under the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and it was for that agency that Bauerle worked, at least for a time. His murals, which are still in existence (see comment below), show the Bonhomme Richard in action during the Revolutionary War, the victory of the Lawrence and the Niagara over the British fleet in the War of 1812 (commemorated in a U.S. postage stamp in 2013), the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War, and the arrival of American destroyers at Queenstown, Ireland, in May 1917, near the outset of the American entry into World War I. Each of the murals is twelve by fifteen feet.

In about 1950, Charles Bauerle (whose name has been misspelled as "Bauerley") moved to rural Brown County. He worked as an artist for naval ordinance, presumably at what is now Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center in Martin and adjoining counties, located well west of Brown County. On the evening of October 17, 1952, while fetching the mail, Bauerle was struck by a truck on State Highway 135 (see comment below). He died from his injuries and was buried at Greenwood Cemetery, Greenwood, Indiana.

On the left, a photograph of a mural by Charles E. Bauerle, taken at the Indianapolis Naval Armory in 1938-1939. The mural shows the arrival of American destroyers at Queenstown, Ireland, in May 1917. On the right, a photograph of the artist, who would have been five years old when that event took place and who was not even thirty when he completed the mural. From the Indianapolis Times, Jan. 7, 1939.

A recent photograph of the same mural, still on display at Heslar Naval Armory, Indianapolis, from the website of Indiana Landmarks, which has an article about the armory, its history, and its planned use at this link.

Updated May 6, 2019. Thanks to the commenters below for further information.
Text and captions copyright 2013, 2019 Terence E. Hanley

Monday, October 7, 2013

Charles E. Barnes (1915-2005)

The men who conquered Fortress Europe and who stormed the beaches of the South Pacific--the men who survived the war and the sixty-eight years since--are in their waning years. We as a nation have honored them with a memorial in Washington, D.C. Our current commander-in-chief has dishonored them by attempting to keep them out, as if a few moveable barriers and a few yards of plastic tape could discourage men who long ago laid waste to world-spanning totalitarian regimes. In support of our veterans, I will write two postings this month, both on artists who drew and painted pictures of military action.

First, Charles E. Barnes, a Brown County artist born three years and a day before the first Armistice Day. Barnes was born in Chicago on November 10, 1915. The 1920 census found him with his family in Chicago. In 1930 and 1940, they were living in Richmond, Indiana. Barnes relocated to Indianapolis, perhaps sometime in the early 1940s. He taught at the Park School (now Park Tudor) in Indianapolis and kept a studio on McLean Place in the city. When war came, he answered his country's call.

In July 1945, after the war in Europe had ended, the Indianapolis Star published three drawings that PFC Charles E. Barnes had made at Monte Cassino the year before. Fighting had raged there throughout early 1944. The Allies bombed the abbey at Monte Cassino in February. One of Barnes' drawings is dated 1944. The other is undated. It's clear, though, that he was there shortly after the Germans finally withdrew in May. In the articles, Barnes was described as "a veteran of the North African and Italian campaigns." He in fact spent four years with the 704th Engineers as a camouflage technician not only in North Africa and Italy but also in Sicily and France.

Charles E. Barnes studied at the Herron School of Art, the Santa Monica School of Design, and the School of Modern Photography. Francis Chapin (1899-1965) was among his instructors. One of his classmates at Herron was also his friend, cartoonist Dick Wingert (1919-1993). In his fine art, executed before and after the war, Barnes was an abstract painter. More than fifty universities and museums, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, held or hold his works. Barnes was art director at Argo Films in New York City and a charter member of the Creative Film Society in Hollywood. For many years he operated the Modern Art Center, later the Charles E. Barnes Art Center, located across from the north entrance to Brown County State Park in Nashville, Indiana. Brown County is renowned for its fall color, its art colony, and of course as home to Kin Hubbard's wry observer of human folly, Abe Martin.

Barnes had a stroke in his mid sixties. Though paralyzed on his left side and halting in his speech, he continued to create works of art every day. "Well, sure, I have to," he said. Charles Barnes died on March 31, 2005. He was eighty-nine years old.

Drawings made by PFC Charles E. Barnes at Monte Cassino, Italy, 1944, and published in 1945. From the Indianapolis Star, July 15 and 29, 1945.

Indiana artist Charles E. Barnes (1915-2005). From the Indianapolis Star, Oct. 9, 1969.

Updated on July 17, 2020.
Text and captions copyright 2013, 2020 Terence E. Hanley