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Charley Harper and His Birds

Updated on November 21, 2014

I recently discovered an artist that I never would have thought that I would like. I've seen his work many times before, but didn't think much it because I like my artwork to be more traditional in style. I've even seen this Eskimo curlew tray before and I thought it was nice. I love any type of artwork with an Eskimo Curlew on it, but, still, it didn't thrill me.

Then, I was researching this artwork and found that it and the artist had interesting stories. Charley Harper was an illustrater for Ford Times, Ford Motor Company's magazine. Among other things, they commissioned him to do several pieces of art about birds. At first, it was just illustrations of common backyard birds at a feeding station. But, then, other themes came up. Harper did other illustrations such as my favorite birds, like the killdeer in a series called "A Farewell to Wings". I started to see the work in a different way. There was a lot of humor to his work and many of the birds were done in a cute way. It also showed that Harper really knew his subject matter very well and portrayed birds and animals that many people probably never heard of.

The Eskimo Curlew illustration was done in 1957 as part of a series called "America's Vanishing Birds" and portrayed not only the curlew, but the California Condor, passenger pigeon, and others. At that time, there were still a few Eskimo curlews left, but the sightings were few and far between. The book, "Last of the Curlews", had been published not long before and Eskimo curlews were on many people's minds.

Harper's art has been tightly controlled since his death in 2007. There's only a few places that legitimately sells prints and products with his designs. Many of the prints sell for a $1000 a piece, but this item is fairly affordable. It's the only Eskimo Curlew print that is in a price range that I can buy. It's not in the original colors, but it's still a nice design and you, too, can own it.

Charley Harper's son, Brett Harper, is in charge of the artwork and the estate. Many copies of the artwork is sold at affordable prices on

Other items by Charley Harper

Here are more Charley Harper art products on Most of the items are affordable. If you enjoy Harper's artwork, you might want to own one or two of these. Many of these items would be great gifts for kids and families. has a variety of Harper illustrated item on their website. Charley Harper's son runs a store there with approved items.

Charley Harper Birds

Charley Harper: Birds: A Book of Postcards (Books of Postcards)
Charley Harper: Birds: A Book of Postcards (Books of Postcards)

You won't want to send these out, they're so good, you'll want to frame them. The price is very reasonable, too. This would make a great gift.


Charley Harper Calendar

Charley Harper 2015 Calendar
Charley Harper 2015 Calendar

I can use one of these, hint hint hint. A new calendar is put out each year. When the next calendar comes out, I will see if I can post a link to that.


Charley Harper Video Slideshow

I love the video I've posted below. The estate of Charley Harper and Charley Harper Studios put it out. It shows many of Harper's famous works of art. Though it doesn't contain a lot of his bird artwork, it shows a variety of the type of work that he does.

He was a very in-demand illustrator. If you were a student in the 60s or 70s, chances are that you had a textbook (especially a biology textbook) that was illustrated by Charley Harper.

Charley Harper--American Modernist Art

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    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      4 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      I do like his artwork.

    • Shorebirdie profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from San Diego, CA

      @Ruthi: Thanks! I've seen his work around, but I never started appreciating it until I saw all the different birds he did.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Thanks for the introduction to artist Charley Harper. His birds are delightful!


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