“CHARLES A.A. DELLSCHAU (1830 – 1923): AMERICAN VISIONARY”

courtesy of the Stephen Romano Gallery

courtesy of the Stephen Romano Gallery

courtesy of the Stephen Romano Gallery

courtesy of the Stephen Romano Gallery

Stephen Romano Gallery is pleased to announce a very special and historic exhibition by America’s earliest known visionary artists: Charles A.A. Dellschau.
While “Charles Dellschau is widely acknowledged as an Outsider master in the same league as Adolph Wolfli, Henry Darger and Martin Ramirez”, this will only be the third ever solo exhibition mounted of the artist’s work.

The art of Charles Dellschau is included in such prestigious collections as the American Folk Art Museum, The High Museum, Atlanta, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Museum Of Everything, London, The Menill Collection, Houston, The San Antonio Museum, TX, The Witte Museum, TX, The Kohler Art Foundation, Wisconsin, ABCD Art Collection, Paris. Dellschau’s works were recently featured in the NY Times in a review of an exhibition at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn NY.

see more info on “CHARLES A.A. DELLSCHAU (1830 – 1923): AMERICAN VISIONARY” here  at the Stephen Romano Gallery 

Concurrent to this exhibition is HEIROGYLPHICA a group exhibition which also touches upon themes which have to varying degrees of sublety an affinity with the work of Charles A.A. Dellscha. see  HEIROGYPHICA Exhibition

courtesy of the Stepehn Romano Gallery

courtesy of the Stepehn Romano Gallery

In the fall of 1899, Charles A.A. Dellschau (1830-1923), a retired butcher from Houston, embarked on a project that would occupy him for more than 20 years. What began as an illustrated manuscript recounting his experiences in the California Gold Rush became an obsessive project resulting in 12 large, hand-bound books with more than 2,500 drawings related to airships and the development of flight. Dellschau’s designs resemble traditional hot air balloons augmented with fantastic visual details, collage and text. The hand-drawn “Aeros” were interspersed with collaged pages called “Press Blooms,” featuring thousands of newspaper clippings related to the political events and technological advances of the period.

After the artist’s death in 1923, the books were stored in the attic of the family home in Houston. In the aftermath of a fire in the 1960s, they were dumped on the sidewalk and salvaged by a junk dealer. Eight made their way into the collections of the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Witte Museum and the Menil Collection; the remainder were sold to a private collector.

Dellschau’s works have since been collected by numerous other museums. These private works were not created for the art world, but to satisfy a driving internal creative force.

* Dellschau’s work was in large part a record of the activities of the SONORA AERO CLUB, of which he was a purported member.

* Dellschau’s writings describe the club as a secret group of flight enthusiasts who met at Sonora, California in the mid-19th century. (c. 1854 – 1858)

* One of the members of the SONORA AERO CLUB had discovered the formula for an anti-gravity fuel he called “NB Gas.” Their mission was to design and build the

first navigable aircraft using the NB Gas for lift and propulsion.

* Dellschau called these flying machines Aeros.

* Dellschau does not claim to be a pilot of any of the airships; he identifies himself only as a draftsman for the Sonora Aero Club.

* Beginning in 1898, at the age of 68, and over the course of the next 23 years, while isolating himself in a back room of his niece’s house in Houston TX, Dellschau produced close to 5000 watercolor paintings.

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Barry William Hale

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