1. Category:
  2. Fine Art (2,667)


Charles Turzak
Origin Date:
overall: 15 1/2 in x 12 1/2 in
Item ID:
Holding Institution:
Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, courtesy of the Indiana State Museum
Available for Viewing:
Fine Art


This woodcut features a head and shoulders portrait of President Abraham Lincoln. Underneath the print, there is a marking stating this print from a limited edition is the 44th out of 100 prints made. The book by Charles Turzak "Abraham Lincoln: A Biography in Woodcuts" can be found in the part of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection housed at the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Part of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, courtesy of the Indiana State Museum Charles Turzak was born on August 20, 1899, in Streator, Illinois, the third child and only son of Czechoslovakian immigrant parents. In 1920, Turzak won a cartoon contest sponsored by the Purina Company, in St. Louis, Missouri, which helped him earn entrance to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). There, he excelled in drawing and woodcarving. By the late 1920s, he gained public attention from exhibiting and selling prints of Northwestern University and Chicago landmarks such as the Chicago Water Tower, Tribune Tower, Buckingham Fountain, as well as watercolors of steel mills, boats, harbors, skylines, woodlands, parks, and still lifes. In 1929 he traveled to Europe to study the master painters firsthand. He returned to the United States just as the Great Depression set in. In addition to his work featuring scenes of life in Chicago, Turzak is also well known for his biographical woodcuts of notable Americans. His first edition on Abraham Lincoln sold so well at the Century of Progress that it supported Turzak through the fair and the Depression. He followed it with Benjamin Franklin: A Biography in Woodcuts, which was accompanied by text written by his wife, Florence Turzak.Turzak exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1940, and worked for the Works Progress Administration, completing a mural for the Chicago Post Office. From 1942, he was art director of Today's Health Magazine. He lived in Chicago until 1958, and then moved to Orlando, Florida. During the 1950s to 1970s, he painted in several abstract styles and in the 1970s and 1980s, was painting floral still lifes and marine scenes. Turzak died in Orlando in 1985.