Charles Wysocki, a first-generation American of Polish heritage, was born in Detroit in 1928 into a community of immigrants who took great pride and pleasure in celebrating the traditions of their new homeland, which became a central theme for Wysocki’s artwork.
After graduating from Cass Technical High School, he enlisted in the Army and did duty as a sign painter. He later studied at The Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles, then worked as a commercial artist in Detroit before returning to California, where he made the transition from commercial to gallery art.
Wysocki’s work depicts a stylized version of American life of yesteryear. His painting The White House Fourth of July Picnic became part of the presidential art collection during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. The Daughters of the American Revolution awarded him their Medal of Honor for artwork that “exemplifies our heritage and for the values that have made our country strong.” The Richard Nixon Library’s exhibit of Wysocki’s work in 1991 drew thousands of visitors.
US Art has named Charles Wysocki one of the ten most influential artists, and he published two books, An American Celebration and Heartland.”