Charles Movalli of Gloucester, Massachusetts was presented the Hudson Valley Art Association's highest honor by its Board of Directors for his outstanding, outreaching dedication to the preservation and expression of art.
A strong believer in its principles, Movalli spent his life-time "spreading the word" as writer, teacher and painter. Above all, his many short articles furthered the careers of those he showcased. Charles' career was an attempt to answer a basic question posed by Claude Croney, AWS: are you a teacher who paints or a painter who teaches. Which comes first: the work
itself, or teaching students? The two are not mutually exclusive-but Movalli always felt, even when at his busiest as a teacher: Work came first. The working life of Charles Movalli is a fitting answer to this question: Born and raised in the traditional art colony of Gloucester, Massachusetts, young Charles was encouraged to paint by his artist-mother, Charlotte; she worked in pastel and watercolor with a specialty in painting flowers. His father, Alfred, was the son of a sculptor and had a great interest in art.
Movalli's early nurturing was furthered by frequent visits to Gloucester's Sawyer Free Library, which had an unusually rich collection of art Books. Here Movalli discovered Frank Lloyd Wright who soon became the teenager's life-long hero. Movalli greatly admired the architect's disciplined, well organized mind -- the basic tool for any kind of artistic execution. Inspired to become an architect, Movalli became an English major on the advice of his school advisors, he turned to liberal arts.
Meanwhile, Movalli tried to find editorial work. Don Holden, at the helm of Watson-Guptill became Movalli's first "padrone". Holden gave Movalli his first non-academic assignment: working with Roger Curtis on a series of art instruction books. Movalli was also attending art demonstrations by Emile Gruppe (HVAA tribute 1972). Holden again saw the potential for another useful art collaboration. This project led to a series of four titles. The books are now collector's items and formed the basis for a real friendship between Movalli and Gruppe, fifty years his senior.
Movalli edited the three Gruppe books: Gruppe on Painting, Brush Work; Gruppe on Color; and Brushwork for the Oil Painter. Movalli also wrote a historical introduction to Hunt's On Painting and Drawing and books with Croney, Betty Lou Sehlemm (translated into Japanese) and Paul Strisik (HVAA Bargaining - Oil tribute 1982).
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