Painter and book artist Gérard Charrière's (1935- ) productive and multifaceted career spans over six decades, beginning in the 1950s. Born in Fribourg, Switzerland, Charrière studied bookbinding, design, drawing, and tooling at the École des Arts et Métiers in Basel. Later, he pursued advanced studies in the art of bookbinding with Raymond Mondange at the Lycée Technique Estienne in Paris. In 1964, Charrière moved to Chicago, where he worked at the Newberry Library as a rare book and manuscript restorer. Four years later, in 1968, he moved to New York to study painting at the Art Students League. Charrière remained in New York until 2001, when he relocated to Berlin.
Over the course of his career, Charrière has created custom bindings for limited edition artists' books. Charrière's book covers are traditional in technique yet untraditional in composition and material. Charrière is known for incorporating modern, unconventional materials in his covers, including plexiglass, bubble wrap, nails, found objects, and painting. Charrière is also a prolific painter, and his works are held in many collections throughout the world.
Charrière, Gérard. "Philosophy." Gerard Charriere Portfolio. Accessed October 29, 2019. http://www.gerard-charriere.com/.
Ronewa Art Projects. "Gérard Charrière." Accessed October 29, 2019. https://ronewa.com/artists/25-gerard-charriere/overview/.
Boreas Fine Art. "Gérard Charrière." Accessed October 29, 2019.http://www.boreasfineart.com/gerard-charriere.html.
The Gérard Charrière papers consist of correspondence, artists' books, catalogs, brochures, periodicals, postcards, artworks, sketches, and printed ephemera created and collected by Charrière (bulk 1980-2000). The majority of the collection comprises correspondence and materials from Charrière's artist friends and colleagues. Included in the collection are drafts, mock-ups, and other materials associated with Charrière's bookbinding practice.
The collection is arranged in three series. Series I. Artist files contains correspondence, greeting cards, and artist books. Material in this series is arranged by individual. While the bulk of the correspondence is addressed to Charrière, some letters are addressed to Ted Cronin, an artist and gallery owner who was also Charrière's partner. Charrière corresponded with book artists and publishers including Norma Rubovits, Brenda Miller, Warja Lavater, Lois Morrison, Ed Hutchins, Ted Cronin, Béatrice Coron, Ira Joel Haber, Louis Pelosi, Sally Agee, Ric Haynes, Douglass Howell, and Ron Keller. Many of the greeting cards and postcards are original works of art.
Series II. Ephemera consists of printed material collected by Charrière. This series contains materials relating to Charrière's career and other materials collected by the artist. The former includes photographs, postcards, newspaper clippings, exhibition announcements, and exhibition brochures. Other materials he collected include playbills, brochures, exhibition announcements, postcards, exhibition catalogs, and magazines, including multiple publications on the artist Jacob Lawrence.
Series III. Artwork primarily consists of works on paper created by Charrière, most of which are likely drafts. There are approximately 115 works on paper, including 35 binding designs, as well as 3 woodblocks (1990-1999). This series also contains artwork (1989-1992) by Ted Cronin, including two photo collages, two mixed-material collages, and a letter from Barbara Bush in response to a collage.