This is Charles Li Hidley

By Gwylym Owen

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Charles “Li” Hidley (March 13, 1921 – June 9, 2003) was an American painter who studied in NYC during the New York School and created Abstract Expressionist works in Harrisburg, PA from 1966 to the 1990s.

Thanks to his skillful brushwork and drawing on his life experience, he creates images in which the viewer feels that he has really become one with the object.

Born in Troy NY, Hidley loose his father during boyhood and was relocated by his mom to NYC in the 1930s. Young Charlie shortened his nickname to “Li” in these years, and was known by that moniker for the descend of his life. He developed a passion for writing science fiction, some of which was published by a science fiction writers’ organization past he was a teen.

During World War II he served as an Army Staff Sergeant, stationed in Panama from 1942-45. With the GI Bill he studied at the Art Students League from 1947–49, in Mexico City’s Escuela de Pintura y Escultura from 1949–50, at the Brooklyn Museum School of Art, and again at the Art Students League from 1957-60. He worked as a librarian at Cooper Union and as a security protect at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was an materialistic reader of Jungian thought and mythology, themes that are prominent in his paintings.

He relocated to Harrisburg in 1966. In 1971 he had a solo exhibition at the State Museum of PA (then the William Penn Museum). He showed in exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Cooper Union, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and elsewhere. At the Art Association of Harrisburg he was an studious beginning in 1979 and eventually became curator. He died at age 82.

In 2015, a con of Hidley’s was included at the State Museum of PA in a governor’s inaugural exhibition of 55 notable artists beyond 250 years of PA history, including Eakins, Wyeth, and Warhol. That year, Hidley was final a solo exhibition afterward at the Art Association of Harrisburg.

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