Charles Beck & the Kaddatz Galleries
Since 2009, the Kaddatz Galleries has been lucky to be one of the few galleries in the country carrying the original woodcut prints and paintings of visual artist Charles Beck*. After his death in 2017, we have maintained our relationship with the family and continue to make his work available for purchase in his hometown of Fergus Falls, MN.
The Beck family made the decision not to replicate or reprint the work of Charles Beck in any way after his passing in order to maintain the integrity of his artistic vision. The collection is therefore finite; many pieces are now unavailable for purchase, though many remain available. The Kaddatz Galleries is doing its best to maintain an online shop featuring the Beck work currently available for purchase. See our Shop for options!
* Note: we do not maintain a list of other galleries or museums displaying/ carrying the work of Charles Beck.
The Legacy of Charles Beck
The Kaddatz Galleries maintains a space where the works of Charles Beck are accessible to the public and where his legacy is sustained through the support and celebration of contemporary regional artists.
Charles Beck, one of the most recognized artists in Minnesota, was born in Fergus Falls in 1923. He began drawing in grade school, often trading his work with other students for candy and marbles. Beck studied art under Cyrus Running at Concordia College in Moorhead during the 1940’s. He was also convinced to play football by sports director Jake Christiansen, which became another important aspect of his college career. Beck credits Running and the Christiansen brothers (Jake and Paul) at Concordia as being great influences in his life. Beck graduated from Concordia in 1948 after taking time off to serve as a pilot in the Navel Air Force. He continued his education at the University of Iowa, where he received his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1950. Beck then returned to his hometown of Fergus Falls where he was a sign painter.
In 1953, Beck enrolled at the University of Minnesota and studied under Cameron Booth, Walter Quirt and Malcolm Meyers. It was during this time that Beck was introduced to woodblock printing and when he completed his first print, Holy Family. Beck joined the faculty at Fergus Falls Community College (now M State) in 1960, where he taught for 27 years. Concordia granted Beck an honorary doctorate in 1980, and in 2006, M State honored Beck by naming their new gallery after him.
Charles Beck was influenced by the landscape of Ottertail County and made it the predominant subject matter of his artwork, choosing to create an interpretation of his own experiences and vision rather than exact representations within his work. Charles Beck continued to create art until his death in September 2017 at the age of 94.
Beck lived and worked in the Fergus Falls area at a time when the choice to be an artist was more radical than not. Today, Fergus Falls and the surrounding area is home to over 600 creative workers. The booming art scene in rural West Central MN is no accident: it is thanks to the success of artists like Charles Beck that so many recognize and embrace the importance of the arts today. For that reason, the Kaddatz Galleries chooses to maintain a space where the works of Charles Beck are accessible to the public and where his immense legacy is sustained through the support and celebration of contemporary regional artists.
Want to learn more about the life and work of Charles Beck? Purchase Charles Beck: The Nature of an Artist by Amy Sharpe, longtime friend of Charles Beck.