Obituary: Charles George Le Clair / Former art professor at Chatham, dean at Temple

May 23, 1914 -- April 2, 2007

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It has been more than three decades since Charles George Le Clair was an art professor at Chatham College, but his memory lives on in one of his paintings displayed in the college's Art and Design Center.

The large oil painting -- an allegorical work called "Caravaggio and La Dolce Vita" -- includes a life cast of Mr. Le Clair as a youth with his eyes closed and appearing to be dreaming.

Mr. Le Clair wrote of this work: "If so, his and my dreams were more than fulfilled by 14 years of creative involvement at Chatham College."

Mr. Le Clair died April 2 at Hahneman Hospital in Philadelphia. He was 92.

He joined the Chatham faculty in 1946 and left in 1960 to become dean of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. In 1966, he founded Temple's Rome campus.

His work appeared in group shows at the Art Institute of Chicago; Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., among others.

He authored "The Art of Watercolor" and "Color in Contemporary Painting."

The painting on Chatham's campus was donated by alumna Eleanor Ulmer and her husband, James, of Uniontown, and unveiled at the center's dedication in 2005.

Painted in 2004, it was part of a series of Le Clair paintings dedicated to 20 artists who influenced him. Caravaggio was an Italian artist during the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Mr. Le Clair wrote that the images -- including music, companionship, fruit and flowers -- "point to the sweet life of an artist."

A memorial service will take place today at the Church of St. Luke and The Epiphany in Philadelphia.


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