Peck Slip. (East River, New York). 1935. Wood engraving. 8 15/16 x 11 7/8 (sheet 11 1/2 x 16). A fine impression printed on the full sheet of cream wove paper with deckle edges. Signed and titled in pencil. $350.
New York World's Fair. 1939-40. Watercolor. 19 1/8 x 24. Signed, lower left; dated, titled and annotated 'No 215 N.F.S. [Not For Sale] title -- option only --' verso. $500.
Pontís artistic talent was already evident during secondary school, and he pursued a professional formation at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and The Cooper Union in Manhattan. In 1933 he received a scholarship to continue his training with the American Artists League. His professional career began in 1925 as a carpenter and cabinet-maker in New York. Although he gave up this business in 1932, he never forgot these skills, and twenty years later designed and built his own home in Wilton, Connecticut.
In the midst of the Great Depression, Charles Pont turned to the fine arts as a full-time career, working chiefly as a book and magazine illustrator. Pursuing a nautical interest inherited from his adoptive father who had served in the German Imperial Navy, Pont became renowned as a maritime artist, painting covers for magazines such as Motor Boating, Yachting and Power Boating, as well as illustrating numerous marine books by authors such as Alan Villiers. He also illustrated numerous childrenís books by Joseph Leeming, Irving Simon, John Hooper and others, and Christian literature by such authors as Harry A. Ironside. In 1938-41, he was paid by the federal Works Progress Administration to produce public art, and completed twenty-eight murals among other projects. During the 1930s he also turned to printmaking, receiving honors in wood engraving, lithography and etching.
While pursuing a second career as an itinerant preacher in the 1940's, Pont painted not only Biblical themes, but also landscapes in thirty states, as well as Canada and several European countries. Working with equal skill in oil, watercolor, ink, and printmaking, most of Pontís work remained nautical. In retired life he devoted himself to capturing the charm of the New England coast before all the 19th century sail lofts, docks and buildings were demolished. Giving up the ministry as a full-time occupation in the late 1940s, Pont turned again to commercial art for a living, and served as assistant art director for the New York publisher Grosset & Dunlap from 1954 until his retirement in 1963. Later, Pont taught art for Darien High School evening classes, and the Famous Artists School in Westport, both in Connecticut.
Pontís art was exhibited in his lifetime in practically every state as well as the 1939 New York World's Fair. His work in permanent public collections includes the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institution, and Navy Department in Washington DC, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and New York Public Library in New York City, the Syracuse Museum, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the Wilton, Connecticut, Town Hall, among many others.
Pont's professional associations included the American Artists Professional League, Southern Printmakers Society, American Water Color Society, New York Water Color Society, American Institute of Graphic Arts, and The Typophiles.
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