Fabric Designer, Educator, and Watercolor Artist
Frederick Montague Charman, the son of Frederick William Alderman Charman and Lily Marie Ings, was born in London, England, on April 6, 1894. He studied at the Hammersmith College of Art, now the Chelsea College of Art & Design. In 1918, he accepted a position with Sidney Haward, one of England’s foremost fabric designers. In 1923, he took a teaching position with Syracuse University and immigrated to the United States on September 5, 1923, through Ellis Island, New York City. On June 22, 1925, he married Jessie Bone, an accomplished artist in her own right.
Charman is best known for his modernist abstract watercolors and his 37-year career as a professor at Syracuse University. While working as a design professor, he also maintained a dual career as an artist, traveling summers throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and the American West. His painting techniques are described in detail in the book “Watercolor Demonstrated.” Charman’s style is often reminiscent of his idol Charles Burchfield. After retiring from Syracuse in 1960, the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York, held a retrospective exhibition for both Montague and his wife, Jessie.
Charman exhibited widely throughout the United States, including the Art Institute of Chicago, National Academy of Design, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Rochester Memorial Art Gallery, Albright Art Gallery, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, and the Binghamton Museum of Art. In addition, his work can be found in the collections of the Everson Museum of Art, Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, Municipal Collection of Salt Lake City, Syracuse, University, Brigham Young University, and the Brooks Memorial Museum.
Montague Charman passed away in May of 1986 in Syracuse, New York. In November 2007, an exhibition titled “Montague Charman–Master of Design” was held in Verona, New York.
Sources: Bradford Trust Fine Arts, Ancestry.com