Charles Fracé, a wildlife
artist whose work was featured in more than 450 exhibitions,
was born in 1926 in a small town in eastern Pennsylvania. He
began drawing at five and taught himself to paint when he was
fifteen. Fracé remembers wanting to be an artist from an
early age. His self-instructed talent earned him a
scholarship to Philadelphia's Museum School of Art, where he
graduated with honors.
In 1955, Fracé began a professional career as a freelance
illustrator in New York City. Eventually, he established a
distinguished reputation for wildlife painting. However Fracé
soon grew frustrated by the restrictions of illustrating ideas
conceived by others and longed to paint some of his own.
He moved to Mattituck, Long Island and opened a studio and met
his wife Elke. She took his first finished work to the nearby
Kron's Gallery for framing. Although it was an unusual
subject and title, A Sparrow on a Rat, they insisted on
displaying the painting in the gallery, and it sold that same
His paintings were immediately celebrated by fellow nature
lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. His first Golden Eagle,
framed by ominous gray clouds and staring at the viewer from
its perch on a sun bleached tree limb, was such a success that
he made a second version as one of his limited edition prints.
In 1973, with the issue of Fracé's first limited edition
print, he had finally made the permanent change to fine art.
Fracé brings to his art over three decades of personal
research and a close kinship with animals. Fracé and his art
has been the subject of two books.
Perhaps the greatest honor of his career came in October 1992,
when Fracé as recognized with a one-man exhibit of thirty-six
of his paintings at the National Museum of Natural History of
the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
On December 16, 2005, Charles Fracé died, having suffered from
Alzheimer's Disease. Of his work, he had said: "I was just
given this gift. I believe God gave me this talent to share
with others and, in this way, to contribute to the
preservation of wildlife and their habitat."