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Fine Art, Flower Composition, Orchids, Charles Baskerville, Vintage Watercolor, 1980


Charles Baskerville (1896-1994)
American: 1980
Watercolor and pencil on paper
Signed and dated lower right
13.75 x 11 inches, overall

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Watercolor study of purple and white orchids, dedicated by the artist “For My Dear Jane.” Two slender green stalks extend upwards from a base of larger green leaves. The composition is animated by the overlapping blossoms and their curving, delicately shaded petals.

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Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, Charles Baskerville lived with his family in Chapel Hill until their move to NY in 1904. He graduated from Cornell University and attended classes at the Art Students’ League, New York, and the Academie Julien, Paris. His artistic endeavors were interrupted by service in both World Wars. As an infantry lieutenant in World War I, he received several honors including the Silver Star, Purple Heart and Victory Medal. During World War II he reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel as Official Portrait Painter of the Army Air Force and was awarded the Legion of Merit. The 72 portraits of generals and war heroes he painted are on permanent display at the Pentagon.

After his service he traveled extensively around the world, producing portraits of prominent world leaders such as the King of Nepal and Prime Minister Nehru of India. He also painted a number of prominent individuals including Ambassador Winthrop W. Aldrich, Ambassador Stanton Griffis, Helen Hayes, the Duchess of Windsor, Colonel Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, Ailsa Mellon Bruce, Mrs. William Randolph Hearst and Mr. and Mrs. A. Felix du Pont.

Marjorie Merriweather Post built the ballroom of her Palm Beach home, Mar-A-Lago, around his mural, The Sultan of Morocco on a Stallion, which she later donated to South Plains College in Levelland, Texas. His work was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. He had 12 one-man exhibitions in New York and retrospectives at the Parrish Art Museum, Southampton and the Palm Beach Galleries. Many of his paintings and sketchbooks are in the collection of Cornell University.

Inscription lower right: “For my Dear Jane/ Charles Baskerville – 1980.”

Condition: Generally very good with only minor overall toning and wear.


Van Gelder, Lawrence. “Charles Baskerville, 98, Dies; Portrait Painter and Muralist.” New York Times. 23 November 1994. Online at: (1 July 2013).

Additional information


20th Century