Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  Wilson, Charles Banks

WILSON, CHARLES BANKS (1918–2013).

A painter and a printmaker, Charles Banks Wilson was born in Springdale, Arkansas, on August 6, 1918, and grew up in Miami, Oklahoma. Demonstrating an interest in art at an early age, he attended the Art Institute of Chicago from 1936 to 1940. In 1941 he married Edna McKibben of Miami and moved to New York City, where he produced his first lithograph for Associated Artists of America and drawings for the first of many books he would illustrate over the next twenty years.

Returning to Oklahoma in 1943, Wilson established a permanent studio in Miami and in 1945 began teaching night classes in drawing at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (now Northeastern State University). Eventually he became head of the art department, which position he held until 1960. During this period he continued to illustrate books and produce lithographs from his own press. He also completed a number of portrait commissions, the first in 1957 from Tulsa oilman and collector Thomas Gilcrease.

From 1963 to 1968 Wilson worked for the state legislature producing life-size portraits of Cherokee linguist Sequoyah, humorist Will Rogers, athlete Jim Thorpe, and Sen. Robert S. Kerr for the Capitol Rotunda. In 1970 the legislature commissioned a series of murals for the Capitol depicting events in Oklahoma history, a project Wilson completed in 1976. The same year he received the Governor's Arts Award and a Distinguished Service Citation from the University of Oklahoma. In 1977 he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

In 1979 Wilson resolved to complete a project begun many years before, traveling throughout Oklahoma to assemble a collection of life portraits representing every American Indian nation or tribe in the state. Completed for the most part in 1982 and exhibited nationally, these portraits eventually were deposited at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, which today owns the largest collection of Wilson's work. Others of his paintings, drawings, and lithographs are found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, and in many private collections. Wilson died on May 2, 2013.

David C. Hunt

See also: GILCREASE MUSEUM, OKLAHOMA CAPITOL, PHILBROOK MUSEUM OF ART

Bibliography

David C. Hunt, The Lithographs of Charles Banks Wilson (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989).

Charles Banks Wilson, Search for the Purebloods (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photo Archives.


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
David C. Hunt, "Wilson, Charles Banks," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed October 20, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia