BIOGRAPHICAL OUTLINE

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1943

Born March 1, 1943 in Bridgeton, New Jersey, to poet and journalist Mary Frances Hobson and engineer, inventor, and boat builder Charles M.
Hobson, Jr.

1960

Draws a series of student election posters based on cartoon figures from MAD Magazine and is elected student council president at Woodbury High School, Woodbury, New Jersey.

1961

Attends Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Pursues studies in engineering and pre-theology before settling on a major in history.

1964

In painting classes at Lehigh, experiments with acrylic paints, which have just been developed. Marries Sandra K. Snellman.

1965

Wins McClain Meritorious Painting Award at Lehigh. Graduates with a BA in history and begins study at the University of Virginia Law School, Charlottesville, Virginia.

1967

Takes painting classes in the UVA art department while studying at the law school and wins all-university art exhibition. Becomes cartoonist for the law school student paper.

1968

Graduates from UVA Law School, moves to San Francisco, and joins law firm of Orrick Herrington Rowley & Sutcliffe as an associate. Birth of daughter, Mary Daniel Hobson.

1970

Continues to paint and exhibit while practicing law and wins first prize in statewide exhibit sponsored by the State Bar of California.

1972

Leaves the law firm and becomes counsel for ITEL Leasing Corporation. Birth of son, Parker Edward Hobson.

1976

Co-founds Comdisco Financial Services with two others. Makes business trips with a set of watercolors and does a series of paintings based on hotel lampshades.

1980

Begins study at the San Francisco Art Institute, first in ceramic sculpture with Richard Shaw and then in printmaking with Larry Thomas.

1984

Friend Bruce Nelson dies of a heart attack. As a memorial to Bruce, Hobson and others publish a small book of Bruce's essays, which initiates his interest in books as an artistic medium. The artist Joseph Goldyne introduces him to the media of etching and monotypes and to master printer Kay Bradner, with whom he will work on numerous book projects in the coming years.

1985

Enrolls in a seminar at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley focused on the historical context of the handmade book. Leaves Comdisco Financial Services to devote full time to studio art.

1988

Completes Flaubert & Louise, his first limited edition book under the Pacific Editions imprint, co-published with Limestone Press. Graduates with a BFA in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute and wins the printmaking department award.

1989

Completes an artist-in-residence fellowship at the Djerassi Foundation, Woodside, California and wins a Jerome Fellowship at KALA Institute, Berkeley, California.

1990

Begins teaching about artist's books in the Printmaking Department at the San Francisco Art Institute, where he will continue teaching until the present. Alice Shaw begins assisting with constructing and editioning his books and continues to do so to the present.

1991

Chronicle Books publishes a trade edition of his limited edition book Leonardo Knows Baseball. This begins his association with Chronicle Books which will result in publication of the trade editions Parisian Encounters (1994) and Seeing Stars (2001).

1992

Completes a series of large monotypes of famous couples who met in Paris, which are exhibited at the Olga Dollar Gallery, San Francisco; the Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago; and the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California.

1993

During the early 1990s he meets regularly for portrait drawing sessions with a group of artist friends that includes Kay Bradner, Martha Cook, Joseph Goldyne, Richard Shaw, and Larry Thomas.

1995

Captivated by the eighteenth-century search for longitude at sea, he produces a series of books that combines the topic with Surrealism. The work is exhibited at the Dorothy Weiss Gallery, San Francisco, and the Getty Center, Los Angeles, which acquires four books.

1996

Composes images and writing for an artists book entitled Shipwreck Stories which is exhibited at the California Historical Society, San Francisco and at the Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz, California.

1997

Receives a residency, sponsored by Michael and Judy O'Shea, to work at La Pilande Basse, Plaisance, France, where he completes the design of Andromeda Imagined.

1998

Curates an exhibition entitled Art Making Book Making Art at the San Francisco Center for the Book and also organizes a companion symposium at the San Francisco Art Institute focusing on artist's books by Manuel Neri, William Wiley, Inez Storer, Linda Connor, and others.

2000

Participates in the artist-in-residence project sponsored by Xerox PARC at the Tech Museum in San Jose, California, where his access to a laser cutter leads to two books, Dancing with Amelia and Anotaciones.

2002

The Bolinas Museum, Bolinas, California, organizes a retrospective exhibition of his artist's books entitled Why I Love Books and publishes a full color catalogue. Over the next four years the exhibition travels to the University of Washington, the University of Virginia, the University of Utah, and Louisiana State University.

2004

Participates in Hearts in San Francisco, a project benefiting the San Francisco General Hospital, for which he creates a six-foot-tall heart covered with books of poems by school children about the heart and love.

2005

Completes a limited edition artist's book based on The Mappist, a short story by Barry Lopez, with whom he has completed several earlier projects including Anotaciones and The Near Woods.

2006

Travels to London to research details about Admiral Nelson for the book Nelson & Emma to be published in 2008. The British Library acquires Adam & Eve and joins a list of distinguished collections holding his work including the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the National Gallery and the New York Public Library.

2007

Stanford University Libraries acquires Hobson's archive, which includes working drafts, ideas, prototypes, photographs, monotypes, prints, and production materials for all of his artist’s books. The gift is accompanied by the purchase of eighteen of Hobson's artist's books not previously owned by Stanford's Special Collections, establishing a complete collection of his published works. Planning commences for Experiments in Navigation: The Art of Charles Hobson.

2008

Concurrent exhibitions of his work are mounted at Stanford University’s Green Library and the Cantor Art Museum entitled Experiments in Navigation: The Art of Charles Hobson with a full color catalogue. Research commences on the topic of sailing in Maine and he meets with Roger Angell in the New Yorker offices to secure rights to his memoir, “Ancient Mariner.” His work is featured on the Forbes yacht at the Miami Beach/Basel Art Fair.

2009

He visits classes and gives public lectures about Artists’ Books at Colorado College and the University of Nevada – Reno. In each case his appearance is accompanied by a survey exhibition of his artist’s books and works on paper. He completes work on a limited edition of Ancient Mariner.

He creates two books in collaboration with Sandra Hobson, Rituals for Life Milestones in an edition of 500 copies and The Magic Jacket, an edition of 60 copies.

2010

He receives the Oscar Lewis Award for achievements in artists’ books from the Book Club of California that mounts a solo exhibition of his work in San Francisco. He participates in several group exhibitions including “Book as Medium” at the Porter Sesnon Gallery, UC Santa Cruz, and “Unbound” at Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA. He publishes Trees based on a poem by W. S. Merwin in an edition of 30 copies.

Trees is acquired by the Library at UC Santa Barbara as the Three Millionth Volume to enter the collection. It also receives special recognition at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL and is dedicated to the new President of the University upon her inauguration.

For information after 2010, please refer to the Chronology.

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