Thinking of Charles Henri Ford on the 15th Anniversary of his Departure
|Potrait of Charles Henri Ford by Pavel Tchelitchew.|
Every year on this day I remember his last days, leading up to his final one in the hospital in New York City. I’ve told many people about the way that Charles continued to make his art even in those very last, fragile days. Collage was always one of his favorite forms of art to make, as everyone who knows of him will remember. He published countless works of collage, showed them in galleries, and published them in books. Some of the greatest collage artists were his friends, in particular Man Ray, who Charles introduced me to on my very first trip to Paris more than forty years ago.
Charles taught me that form of art as well, and for a time I too made collages and saved photos and magazine cuttings to use later. The best collage Charles created was the life that Charles lived. He pasted experiences onto the pages of his life in a way most people never do, and he started doing that at a very young age. He observed everything and everybody. Everything he saw was a little cutting that he could use later in some artistic way. He liked cities and he liked nature, he loved the company of other people and he loved being in places with hardly any people, too. He loved music and poetry and film and theater, and he liked people with a daring spirit. He was not afraid of the world, he embraced it whole and wherever he we went, he brought his notebooks, full of his thoughts, drawings, and ideas.
I think that he would be pleased, all these years after his departure from this world, to see that scholars continue to write about him, and about his art. Galleries still want to show his work, museums are still interested in his films and photographs. People from around the world contact me for permission to reproduce his art as books and articles. I feel privileged and honored to have the stewardship of his work and his archives full of historical treasures. Wherever you are, Charles, you are missed, and forever appreciated.
CHARLES HENRI FORD
February 10, 1908 – September 27, 2002
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