Charles B. Greul


Charles B. Greul

Charles G. Greul (born 1923) is a Canadian printmaker who produced images in the Northwest Coast First Nations art style. His most popular work was a series of black ink silk screened images on rice paper. These images were also available in a series of postcard booklets.

Greul was not a native himself and adopted the artistic style that he used from the First Nations artists from British Columbia in the Pacific northwest. Some critics have labelled his artwork as “inaccurate representations” of Northwest Coast designs. The different First Nations groups had their own design styles (forms, color schemes etc.) and Greul’s designs are not a match to any of these styles. Greul’s lack of authenticity as a First Nations artist by birth and style has contributed to a somewhat negative view of his work by some members of the art community.

Historically, the first use of silk screening by a Northwest Coast native artist occurred in 1949. Ellen Neel, a Kwakwaka'wakw artist, had her designs screened onto cloth scarves that rapidly became commercially successful. Soon thereafter, Greul began to market his silk screen designs on rice paper. His designs sold well and were mass distributed through the Hudson's Bay Company retail stores in the 1950s. He was one of the first artists to see commercial success with the West-coast art style and can be credited with spurring many native artists to pursue the commercial aspect of their art. It was in part in reaction to Gruel's works that some native artists decided to begin producing silk screened works of their own, hoping to create a better understanding and appreciation of traditional Northwest Coast design.

References

  • Greul, C. B. Pacific Northwest Indian Motifs, Vancouver Magazine Service Ltd.
  • Greul, C. B. Coast Indian Totem Motifs Post Card Kit
  • Blackman, Margaret B., Edwin S. Hall, and Vincent Rickard. Northwest Coast Indian Graphics: An Introduction to Silk Screen Prints. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1981

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