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Charles Jay

by on July 22, 2015

Charles Jay, Philadelphia artist (USA). Born in 1947. African American surrealist.

Charles Jay is a Philadelphia African American artist. He was born in 1947. He began by frequenting and studying works in museums in New York. Charles Jay is basically self-taught. He did study at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts and informally with a retired professor at the Academy who helped and critiqued his works. In the early 1970’s Charles Jay entered a competition sponsored by a gallery in NYC owned by Isadora Duncan’s brother and his wife. The prize was an opportunity to go to Europe. Charles Jay won the competition and went to Paris where he worked with other artists, showed in a gallery in Paris, and ended up staying for four years. His greatest influence is from the Danish, Dutch, and Flemish Old Masters. When he returned to the USA he was a dedicated floral artist. The paintings have many applications of glazes. He uses a very small brush.  The paintings by Charles Jay have been shown at the Audubon in New York. He is listed in the following books: “20th Century American Folk, Self Taught, and Outsider Art” by Betty-Carol Sellen, Cynthia J. Johnson, Neal-Schuman Publishers, New York, 1993. “American Self-Taught Art: An Illustrated Analysis of 20th Century Artists and Trends with 1,319 Capsule Biographies” by Florence Laffal and Julius Laffal, 2003.

Displayed original paintings are available for purchase through the Arnot Gallery.


Located in historic Chestnut Hill, Woodmere Art Museum celebrates the work of Philadelphia artists, including the city’s many great African-American talents. The museum recently acquired works by Charles Jay, Humbert Howard, Charles Searles, Sterling Shaw, Ron Tarver, Claude Clark, Paul F. Keene Jr. and James Brantley, and it regularly displays works by Allan R. Freelon, Dox Thrash, Raymond Steth, Louis Baynard Sloan, David Clyde Driskell and Moe Brooker. 


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