Charles Keller

Obituary -- New York Times, September 17, 2006
KELLER--Charles. 91; died August 21, 2006; BA Cornell, 1936; studied Art Student's League; lithographs, building NYC subway; Art Editor, New Masses; Editorial Cartoonist, People's Daily World. Artists on the Left, Yale, 2002. 20 solo exhibitions: Johnson Museum, Ithaca, NY, 1976, Susan Teller Gallery, NYC, 2004. Loving father, joyous patriarch, gifted artist, loyal friend, political activist is deeply missed. Survived by Marthe, Daniel, Kathryn, former wife Judith, grandchildren Alexi, Cara, Colter.
Memorial: (212) 431-6923
Public web site:

Obituary (longer) Charles Keller, beloved father, artist, political activist, mentor and family patriarch, died August 21, 2006, at the age of 91. Born in 1914, graduated Cornell, 1936, he studied at the Art Students League in the 30's. Charles created a series of lithographs, 1937/41 of "sandhogs" workers constructing the 6th Avenue Subway. He collaborated on murals including one at the 1939 New York World's Fair. He organized artists' associations in the 1940's and was part of a thriving artist's community around 14th St. which included Reginald Marsh, Harry Sternberg, Isabel Bishop, Minna Citron, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Raphael Soyer, Rockwell Kent.

During WWII Keller designed the "Airways to Peace" exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. His political cartooning began as Art Editor of the New Masses in 1945 and continued until 1988 for the People's Daily World. He was a founder of the art department of the Reference Center for Marxist Studies, 1980. He taught and lectured widely including at Vassar College, Hofstra University and Parsons School of Design.

With his family, Keller lived and painted on a co-op farm in Newburgh, NY in the 1950's. He helped organize farm workers with Pete Seeger and others. His passport was revoked until the 1960's when he moved to Rome, Italy for 12 years. Since 1974, he maintained a studio in the East Village, NY, which remains in operation. Keller has exhibited internationally with more than 20 one-person shows including the most recent at The Susan Teller Gallery, NY, in 2004.

His cartoons have been included in "Comic Power" at Exit Art, New York in 1993 and "Cartoons/Politics, Personalities" at Wesleyan University in Ohio and "Salon International de la Caricature" in Montreal, Canada, as well as " Satire: Weapon for Peace", traveling exhibitions in the USSR. Most recently Keller has been included in Andrew Hemingway's book, Artists on the Left, published by Yale University Press in 2002, and Order/Disorder, Architectural Transitions in Prints and Photographs, published by the New York Public Library in 1999. His bibliography extends from 1945 to the present.

Keller's work can be seen in collections such as the British Museum of Art, the NY Public Library, The Boston Museum of Art, The Library of Congress, The New Britain Museum of American Art, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Juilliard School, The Dave and Reba Williams Collection, The Wolfsonian Foundation of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, and The Herbert F. Johnson Museum.

He is survived by Martha Keller (the artist known as Marthe Keller) and Kathryn Keller Rule of NY and Daniel Keller of San Francisco and by his former wife, Judith Keller of NYC, and his three grandchildren, Cara Keller, Alexi Keller, and Colter Rule.

He was much admired for his joie de vivre, his artistic gifts and as a font of insights into political and social history. He was a loving father, gifted teacher, loyal friend and life-long activist for justice and equality. We shall deeply miss his great spirit.

A memorial is planned for December, 2006 in New York. Contact Keller Studio: (212) 431-6923

Marthe Keller, cover letter to NYT ...about the death of Charles Keller, on August 21. I apologize for the delay and realize this is a holiday. Although he was nearly 92, and ill for years, Charles was still very active and his death was unexpected. The family was overwhelmed with the huge number of people he was involved with and did not have an obituary ready.

Charles was a New York institution, one of the last of the social realist/expressionist painters friends of Ben Shahn and Jack Levine and a cartoonist recently rediscovered by a younger generation. Several people were interviewing him for oral histories. The NY Times wrote an article on him a few years ago because he founded the Art Department and ran a benefit for the Reference Center for Marxist Studies on 23rd St. Charles was a font of information about the history of the progressive movement in America and the art world of New York. He experienced NY from the upper west side of the 1920's to the East Village of the 1980's and today.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Marthe Keller, email announcement Dear Loved Ones,

I am having a hard time writing this. Katy, Dan and I just said our final goodbyes to Dad yesterday morning, Monday, August 21. Charles died at Mount Sinai Hospital at 8:18am. We were grateful to be with him together the last few days. He was not in pain until the end when morphine eased his exit. He donated his "carcass" to science.

Charles maintained his sense of humor, rallying for each phone call and visitor. He even sang all the words to Hoagie Carmichael's Ol' Rockin' Chair with Dan. His decline was faster than he and we had anticipated, and so many dear friends and family did not have a chance to speak to him. He was exhausted, but he felt very loved. I am amazed at how many diverse relationships he maintained, both new and old.

We will let you know when we have a date for a memorial. This Friday, August 25, there will be a small memorial for Charles' neighbors at DeSales Assisted Living Residence, where he was very well cared for and loved for the last four years. We will present the painting he chose to give them.

Dan and Katy join me in sending our love,


Katy Keller, delivered 8/25/06 at DeSales Assisted Living Residence We gather to celebrate the life of a most remarkable, charismatic, articulate and talented man, Charles Keller. Together with my sister Marthe and my brother Dan I am grateful to have been with him his last days and nights. He never lost his wit. From his hospital bed, he spoke with dear friends and family, rallying his forces for each call and visit. Alas, not everyone who would have liked to had a chance to speak to him.

When Marthe brought him to Mount Sinai hospital barely a week ago, he was thin and tired but we all thought it was just another one of his round trips, just the usual upkeep of a 91-year old body. He had peered over the precipice many times but was always too engaged, too busy, too interested in the details at hand to consider death. He was indomitable.

You may remember the snowy March day two years ago when he was run over by a taxi cab just a block away. Somehow he picked his body up from the gutter and made it back here with broken foot, hip and crushed attaché case. While going through rehab he described this event in a letter entitled "Progress report to my friends at DeSales." In the last line he wrote, "Most of all I look forward to my return to 1261 Fifth Avenue."

He appreciated this home and the residents and devoted staff so much. He found dear friends here and was appreciated by so many. His desire to return was as strong as ever, but will power alone couldn't do it.

There is a deep sense of loss that defies all the platitudes. Having an artist for a father is as good as it gets. He was a wonderful father. He had a full 91 years. Born here in NY in 1914, he studied at the Art Students League, painted, cartooned and worked for social and racial justice his whole life. He married a wonderful woman and raised us kids. His paintings hang in museums, private collections and now in DeSales. He selected a painting to give the Residence in his memory and in appreciation for the care and caring he received here that made all the difference in the quality of the last years of his life. His wonderful studio assistant Rich will continue the work of his art legacy.

Before unveiling the painting and communing over refreshments, we would like to join in song and then invite anyone who wants to speak to do so. Charles certainly would have enjoyed this gathering of loved ones, family, friends, staff, neighbors and comrades.

Judith Keller Dear Mard, Dan and Kat

Thank you for all you have done and are still doing for Dad -- making his living better, his passing easier and his legacy protected.

He was a fun Dad, we all cherish those memories.

My deep appreciation to Brad, Colter and Sally for their support.

All my love,
Your proud Mom

Libby Keller Dear Marte, Dan and Katy,

The family's letters say it all (except for what I'm going to add, of course). I am glad I got to be with Charles that last Saturday. I just scooted in under the wire. He slept a lot but in between we talked about the past and memories of his visits with my parents in NC. He had sent me a drawing he had done of my mother and father in my grandmother's kitchen in the 1940's. It captured them completely with a few strokes.

I was struck by how much he wanted to speak in those last hours of the many friends and family he had accumulated over the years. He told me how loved he felt and how much we all meant to him. I know he was holding out to see you, Dan, and then he could let go. Actually I don't know if he really let go or his disease just whomped him. He was never going to leave voluntarily; he had too much left to do, too much to live for. I didn't have the feeling that he was ready. I did have the feeling that he was resigned. When I left, we agreed that it would likely be the last time.

My favorite memories of Charles are from our trip to Rome and Naples with Daddy when I was 18 and Anne was 15. We traveled around in that little station wagon and laughed. He and my father were a comedy team, and Paul had not been having much fun those last 5 years before our mother died. Do you remember much about it? BLORT trucks and "Big fat old...Whoops..." and Positano in the morning sunlight and Pompei with a red sunset. Do you remember 3-breasted cookies and eggnog labeled "con" and "senza"?

Charles remembered it all and so much more. His prodigious memory astonished all who knew him. He helped keep the past alive by his recall. I loved to hear him tell stories. The only things I hated were those eye kisses.

David, Paul, Emma and I will miss him.

Much love to all of you, his wonderful children and his best artwork,


David Savitz To Marthe, Katy and Dan:

A special bonus for me in marrying Libby was getting to know her uncle Charles. He had a wonderful irreverent sense of humor. He had deep convictions and he had deep affections. I was very fond of him and will miss him very much.

Love, David

Bob Keller Dear Marty, Katy, Dan

As you know, I loved your Dad a lot. I called him often and visited him on my last trip to NYC in March. He was sharp as a tack.

The great thing about him was that he was always upbeat and had interesting stories to tell. When I was a kid, I always looked forward to Thanksgiving at Grandma's because you could count on Chas for something really funny. He never disappointed us. The Walterworkers' activity, hanging over the door in her apartment hall, is etched indelibly in my memory -- especially the blue crow and the guy in the goggles with his hands over the top of the door. When I graduated from college, Chas gave me a great personal cartoon which I framed. Alex has it now. I believe he made a cartoon for each of us when we graduated.

In March, Chas showed me his portfolio of old political cartoons which he has discussed with a publisher to create a book. He said the publisher is in Boston. Because I am here, I would be glad to follow up with the publisher to attempt to move the project forward. Tony is interested in this also. Do you have any ideas and details about this project?

I am happy that so many of his works are hanging in our house -- particularly 2 from the 1930s. One of the subway series, and the drawing of the old guys and the "depression" apple stand. These belonged to my Mom and Dad.

I am delighted that Alex, Rachel and Michael had a long visit with him a couple of months ago.

Barbara joins me in sending our love.


Jim Keller Dear Marthe-

Mary Ellen and I just got in from our trip to Canada-Stratford for the Shakespeare Festival and Niagara-on-the Lake for the Shaw Festival; 11 plays in 10 days. I just wanted to let you know in writing how sad we are about the loss of Charles. As I mentioned to you on the phone, we are so glad that we had a good visit with him in April. We were in town for a wedding on April 9, and stopped by to see him on the way in from LaGuardia that Saturday. He was in great spirits-as he usually was-and we joined him and his table mate for lunch and then spent about two hours with him back in the apartment. He was so cute about introducing us to Helen, trying to be discrete about what was clearly an open secret at Lott. As we got up from the table, one of the women at the table behind Mary Ellen turned to the other in a voice that was not a whisper and said, "He's going over to see his girlfriend."

One of the many wonderful gifts that Charles gave to our family is that his visits to Dad made him laugh and smile in a way that nobody else could, especially in Dad's last years. Charles knew every family story, and Dad enjoyed them all. None of those trips was ever easy for Charles, as he usually took the bus, which is not the most pleasant way to get from NYC to Hartford. I will be eternally grateful for the effort he made and the joy that he brought to Dad.

While Charles' relationship with Mom was more complicated, she did mellow quite a bit in her last few years, and she too looked forward to Charles' visits and stories, to which she could add her own memories.

Mary Ellen's mother, Marie Hoy, remembers Charles fondly, and asked us to send you her condolences. Mary Ellen and I, of course, send all of our love and wishes to you and Brad, Kate and Coulter, and Dan and Sally, and the grandchildren. We will sorely miss the last of the Keller brothers.

Lots of love, Jim

Alexandra Keller Frazer and I are so sad to be missing the festivities today (and I really do think of your father as choosing festive over dour whenever possible--one of the many qualities he was so generous about sharing with younger Kellers). We spent over eight hours in the car yesterday getting back from Frazer's parents' house, and for someone recovering from a stroke (plus high risk pregnancy), that's about all I can handle in the sitting still category without certain health risks. So I'm on my back today, tediously.

I know lots of people in my generation will be remembering Charles and the Sewer Suckers and the Devil's Fiddle (and I will too). But one thing that's really sticking out in my mind just at the moment (besides his really wonderful voice--impish and resonant and the same time, swooping and playful and full of ideas all the time), is a family party at which he did caricatures of all the kids. This must have been when I was about nine, by the look of the image that he made. And why I think I remember it the way I do is that it was the first inkling I had of what he really did. It got me curious about the rest of his image making, and it turned out there was a whole lot more than a kid could take on board right away. And the way that I then encountered and reencountered his work as I grew was a real treat. But I was lucky that however much I held the artist in esteem, the best luck of knowing him was that he was my uncle.

Much love to you all,

Jane Keller Herzig Dear Marthe, Dan and Katy,

My thoughts are with you. To the end Charles was a vital man; his creative process never left him. When he passed it was as though a much younger man had died. He had both the spirit and vision that had him look towards the future, even when his eyesight and his body were not cooperating.

I shall miss and do miss Charles. I loved talking with him and being with him. He had a remarkable memory and was a marvelous reconteur. From early memory he was always the special uncle who could create magic for his nieces and nephews with his remarkable drawingsdeand delightful drawings and delightful patter. For me, Thanksgiving at Grandma's was the highlight of the year, made unforgettable by your Dad's annual entertainment.

Charles accomplished much in his life. He had brilliance, wit, humor, a deep conviction for justice and equality and a willingness to stand for what he felt was right. He was a man of great talent and conscience. He left a large body of work, and for that I am grateful.

Of all his accomplishments, I should think he must have been proudest of siring and inspiring his three magnificent and talented children.

With much love to you all,


Anne Keller Dear Marthe, Dan and Katy,

I was sad to hear of your dad's passing but am glad to know he went without long years of struggle. It's so hard to say good-bye. I'm glad you could all be there and I'm sure you gave him the best send-off anyone could.

I won't be able to get there for Friday's ceremony, but keep us posted for the later one.

Thinking of you all and sending you lots of love,


Anne Keller, Lloyd Sinclair and family Dear Marthe, Dan and Katy,

How sad we are to hear of this final step in your dad's decline. It must happen at some point but it never seems like the right time when it actually comes down to the last days.

I'm not great at the phone, and also not knowing how he'd be feeling at the moment, I would like to ask you all to hug him for me and us and to tell him how much I enjoyed playing with him around artistic things long ago, how good he was to me when I needed help in my travels, and how much fun it was always to laugh with him. I will appreciate him forever, as long as I last anyway! And I'm grateful too that he was part of the team who brought us all the three of you, who are unique and very special people and cousins.

Interestingly Liz and I will be somewhere on the east coast the week of Aug. 28 looking at a few schools, had not planned to be in NYC, but will stay in touch and see if there's anything we can do at that point. Perhaps he will not be around then and I certainly would not like for him to stay with any discomfort or misery.

Thanks to all of you and your spouses and kids for taking care of him of course with your particular ways of gently, kindly and humorously (if possible) easing him out of this life. Thank goodness hospice workers are there to support you too. His has been a grand presence and I'll miss him.

If there's anything I can do for anyone, please do not hesitate to tell me.

Lots of love to you all,
Anne and Lloyd and family

Elizabeth A. Goessel, MD (Rule) Dear Marthe, Dan and Katy:

It was with deep regret that I learned that you lost your father, Charles Keller. Thank you for inviting me to a most touching memorial in his honor.

Any man's death diminishes me
Because I am involved with mankind
And never send to know for whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
                  John Donne
With deep sympathy and much love,


Jeanette Rule Dear Katy

I was sad to learn about Charlie's death. Your father was an exceptionally talented artist. I think that influence was manifested in his children. If you find yourself for no reason as I have since my Dad died, I just let it happen. Strange thoughts and memories seem to come out and sometimes I end up crying or laughing. It is a difficult adjustment; it feels as if I'm dreaming.

My heart goes out to you at this time of loss.

With fond affection, Jeanette

Phoebe Rule Dear Katy

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. If there is afterlife I'm sure your father and my granddad are there together. Remember things you did together and tell them to Little Colter and he'll still be present in our memories. It's going to be hard for little Colter losing both grandfathers. I'll try and fill in as his cousin. I love him and both of you so much.

Carolyn and Viola Keller Dear Katy and Colter and Colter,

I was so sad to hear about uncle Charles and I'm sorry for your loss.

Charles has always been an important, wonderful presence in our lives and we will miss him very much.

You have been on my mind over the last couple of weeks. Know that our thoughts are with you. We send you our love.

Betsy Keller Kagan Beautifully done, Marty - thanks for the communications and updates. It's such a difficult task and much appreciated. I'm really glad we got to talk on Monday night though I'm sure you were exhausted; and especially glad the cat showed up. You didn't need a missing cat on top of everything else at that point!

I was so deeply grateful for the chance I had on Friday evening to speak with my "Unca Chas" ("Unc." for short. And he always knew who I was when I called - all it took was "Hi, Unc.") I even got to joke with him and tell him how much I loved him. I sensed it would be my last chance and will forever feel lucky for that last moment of contact with him. I said to him "sounds like you have a bunch of caring characters hanging around there," and he said "yeah - lots of good workers here" .... and we went on from there a bit.

I know this has of course been a very tough time for you - it's always tough no matter how much you expect it. And yet it's great, at least from my perspective, that you've had so much time with him that you can cherish despite the times - and parts of him - that were not easy, or downright impossible! But the way it ends - when a parent's life ends - has a huge impact on how you will feel about yourself from now on - the sense of connection and resolution and closure you could achieve - it's so important.

And he lived long and well. It's incredible to think Dad would have been 101 years old on Aug. 5th. and had only about half that much time to be alive. Gotta stop.... too much grieving going on here.

Send my love to Kat and Dan and Brad. And much love to you, Eagle,


Michael Herzig Marthe,

Please accept my sympathy in your father's passing. I would like you to know that he will live on my memories as a man full of humor, art, wit and lust for life.

I very much enjoyed my many conversations with him, and will never forget how he played his Devil's Fiddle.

Much love,


Sandra Keller I'm so very sorry. It came as a shock, really. I can't imagine him being gone.

Mom, Dad and I were supposed to go up and then we got news. You know how fond I was of your father. He was truly, my "favorite uncle." I loved him so much that I let him eat my birthday lobster. He was the only one I would ever allow to do that, because he was Charles. Uncle Charles. His buoyant, hilarious self always made me smile and laugh! How he made me laugh . . . I always enjoyed hearing his stories and I'm so sad that he's gone. But he gave a wonderful example on how one should approach life: with humor and heart. He was incredibly lovely and special. And he loved his family so very much.

And we loved him - very very much.

My thoughts are with all of you.

Please let me know if you need me to help with anything - if there's anything I can do. In regards to the memorial service, or . . . anything. Just let me know.

Much much love,


Alex Keller and Frazer Dear Lovely Three (and lovely partners),

We are so sad. At some level I thought Charles would live forever, telling his stories--both amusing and important--and being his wonderful, exceptional, never-known-anyone-else-like-him self. I feel very lucky he is my great (in every way) uncle.

I'm having surgery tomorrow, so I don't think I'll be allowed to go anywhere any time soon. If he is cogent at any point and you can give him a hug from me, please do. If his is not cogent, do it anyway. I know you will make sure his homegoing is what it should be, if that is what is to be.

And hugs to you all, too, from us both of us. I am sure this isn't easy for you, but I know you're making it easier for Charles.

Alex & Frazer

Andrea Keller Dear Marthe and Brad, Katy and Colter, and Dan and Sally,

Tony phoned me shortly after receiving the sad news of Charles' death. What a trooper he has been these last several, difficult years.

You all took such loving care of your dad. I hope some comfort comes to you in knowing this. Thank you all also for offering access to Uncle Charles in his last few days. I was one of the lucky ones who got to thank him for all he brought into our lives and to wish him "safe passage."

His leave-taking was unique in his being able to accept such expressions of love and appreciation with gratitude as well as in the number of such expressions that were proffered over his last two days. Remarkable really.

As a member of your Keller clan for more than 45 years, I have had the privilege of watching you each grow into adulthood and flourish with your talents and spouses and children. Charles was a lucky guy to have your constancy, devotion and understanding over all these years.

I also have had the chance to watch Uncle Charles' place in the family evolve from being seen as the talented, eccentric, and impulsive artist/youngest son/ loyal Communist, to being deeply revered as an Elder. He was much admired for his joie de vivre, for his artistic gifts and as a font of insights into family relationships. And then there were his tales and stories, which he was asked to repeat at every family gathering. At all times, however, throughout the years, he was, hands down, the uncle who was the most fun.

For many, many years he made the effort to come to Hartford for Thanksgiving, sometimes in sleet and snow, often with help for Brad and Marthe. We were always very touched and honored to have him with us on those occasions.

I send each and every one of you my love and admiration, and hope there will be a ceremony in the fall when we can all share together in celebrating Charles' truly amazing life.

Much love,

Andy (from Palo Alto, CA)

Bob Kagan Dear Marthe

I am sorry Charles had to go. He was a remarkable man, and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to know him and to have had that last visit (and hearing him sing A Capital Ship). My heart goes out to you. Being so engaged in caring for him makes the loss even greater. I hope you can find some treasured moments from when he was younger to fix in your memory, which you can can use to push aside the vivid but difficult memories of his final illness. He has been in a corner of your mind, if not directly in front of you, for your whole life. He smiled at your first steps and your first paintings, and encouraged you for years, and probably criticized you for some things too, so he will keep popping up in your mind at odd moments throughout the day -- and that, I suppose, is as it should be.

Love, Bing

Judith Page Dear Marthe, Dan and Katy,

I am so sorry to hear of Charles' passing.. I had not received the email of August 18 so the news was unexpected. Charles had rallied so many times and seemed nearly indestructible that I expected that he might live to be 100 or more. Sadly, that was not the case. Even though I had rarely seen Charles since Richie took over for me when I moved to Williamsburg, he was always in my thoughts.

Working with Charles was one of the highlights of my years in New York. Even though he seldom taught formal classes, he was a gifted teacher. I wish I could have recorded all of our sessions as he had such keen political and social insights. He buried my political "laziness" for all times and convinced me of the importance of being involved. He also had so much to say about art, the processes, the content. Being mostly educated by abstract expressionists, I was really deficient in many areas and Charles filled in the gaps. I know that Richie (who called me last night) feels the same way as we have often discussed how much we learned from Charles. I feel sure that Charles played a similar role in the lives of many others. Being able to see the evolution of Charles' life and art though the cataloging process was a rare privilege (fortunate, after all, that he never threw anything out as there was value to most of what he held on to so closely-except for those plastic bags).

I won't be able to attend the gathering on Friday but will see all of you at the memorial whenever you schedule it.

Much love to you all,


Burt and Elaine Herman Dear Marthe, Katie and Dan...

The passing of your beloved father is the passing of an era... but the life and loves he touched with his life's work, his values and his kind and gentle demeanor, will always live on and be warmly and lovingly remembered by me and my family.

We want you all to know how very saddened we are and offer our heartfelt condolences on your great loss.

Will try to touch base with each of you soon.

Uncle Burt

Dear Katy and Colter

Your father's death is deeply felt by all of your Chicago relatives. Dealing with your double loss this year is hard to imagine. Charles was always kind and considerate to us and we have many fond memories. One of my treasures is the 1956 birthday watercolor of me on my flying carpet over Morocco.

Please know that our thoughts are with you.

Love and best wishes from all of us.

Ted Herman Dear Dan,

We were all saddened to learn of Charles' passing. He was quite a guy.

My earliest recollection was going to Woodmere Long Island with him as he cleaned out his favorite childhood possessions which were unceremoniously stored in the attic. He just couldn't part with anything and needed to tell a story about every item.

That same weekend he took me for my first visit to the Museum of Natural History. It was quite a treat.

It's never easy to say "goodbye" to a loved one. However, I know a lifetime of wonderful memories will help sustain you during these difficult days.

Much love to all.


Jane and Wilf Innerd Dear Marthe,

Thank you for letting us know of the death of your father. We were with Jim and Mary Ellen at Stratford when Jim learned that Charles was in the hospital and we have been in touch with Jane Herzig. May he rest in peace and may you enjoy your memories of him as father, friend, and artist.

His performance on his "fiddle" at Camp Us is a treasured memory for us. What timing! What humour! We also remember clearly the beautiful slide show he gave of his art work.

Altough the death of a parent is always painful, we hope that you are consoled by the fact that he was "full of years."

With deepest sympathy,

Jane and Wilf

Ellen and Wally Morgan Dear Marthe,

We just learned about Charles' death from Nancy--even though it was expected, it's always a shock when it happens. You know that we all thought the world of Charles and admired him on so many levels. I think it was wonderful that he and Sylvia were able to share so many of their later years together.

Please send our condolences to Katie and least you were all with him at the end. Wally, Andrei and I were pleased to have the chance to speak to him on Sunday and I was struck by the fact that he remained as lucid as he was.

Please stay in touch and let us know what plans you have for a memorial.

Meanwhile, love from us both,

Ellen and Wally

Arlene Ensminger Dear Marthe and Brad,

What a rich and wonderful couple of emails you sent! The description and picturing of the Kellering machine is complete enough that I think that I could operate it! Have no idea of course just what is supposed to develop from that operation (!) -- (my family was a bunch of business people) -- but it looks to be a lot of fun to run! Didn't Pratt and Whitney do things with aeronautics later -- or were they always with the tool and dye sort of arts? I would have loved to have worked in that job.

Now: about Charles' website. I have finally put it in my list of "current most used" sites -- and how I love to go there -- especially after a day when the world just seems to be so out of kilter with the human race. Charles' paintings move me so much -- so very much like yours do, Marthe. And I have yet to look into his drawings -- which I know that I will love also. Saving that experience for a particularly poor day news-wise.

What a HUGE life and plentiful experience Charles enjoyed AND connected with others! How I missed knowing this wonderful and gracious and warm and funny human being! Makes me want so much for the "Afterlife" to be correct as I would so love spending my first few years there in his company!

THANK YOU so much for the sharing of these great sites and I hope that you both are having some time to enjoy yourselves and love life and work for peace and justice -- something we ALL have to do -- and something worthy of Charles.

I love you and thank you and hug you tight -- each and both!


Chris Ensminger I have been thinking of all of you recently... I say a prayer for Charles every day. As well as the rest of the family.

I will continue with prayers and love to all.

Take good care of yourselves at this challenging time.

Love, Chris

Hilkka Hieta Dear Dan,

I am so sorry to hear of the death of your father. I remember him from our visit to New York. We have written many letters to each other during these years. I still have the card on my wall that he sent me after Lauri's death.

Much love, Hilkka

Helena and Pekka Heikureinen Dear Dan!

We were so sorry to hear about the death of Charles. We met him only once in New York, but we remember him as a strong yet gentle man. Juuso and Aino send also their condolences to you and your family.

With love,

Helena and Pekka

Carol and Jacques Bahbout Dear Marthe, Dan & Katy,

We are thinking of you all & hoping you have been able to spend some time today with Charles in a caring place.

Much love,

Carol & Jacques

Susan Sheffield Dear Dan,

I was so sorry to hear about Charles' death. I've been thinking fond thoughts of him and the day we took Cara to the Chinese statue exhibit together in the park. That's the most time I ever spent with him alone -- I'm sure I enjoyed it more than either he or Cara did -- but still, we did it and I'm glad. I've also tried to send good vibes to you and Katie and Eagle -- Judy too, altho Sally said they didn't care to see each other at his end, I assume from my own experience that it's always hard to lose someone one once loved. Please give them all my regards and sympathy. I know you're 'coping' as they say, but it's so hard to lose a parent, no matter how old or expected was the death. I'm so glad you spent more time with him and your family of late.

Much love from


Ellen Cahn Mamer Dear Keller clan,

Jane told me of Charles' death last week. I am sorry. I remember Charles as a dapper gentleman who created a huge presence. At Camp-Us and other Keller gatherings, he could enter a space and heads would turn. He always seemed to have people around him, engaged in lively conversations. That's my perception. I know you will miss him.

With much sympathy,

Ellen Cahn Mamer

Louise Dudis Dear Marthe,

Nick and I are very sad to hear about your Dad dying. I think you were very close to him, no? I'm close to my Mom and I can't imagine what it will be like when she dies. We're thinking of you and Dan and Katie so often. Please give them my love and please let us know if there's anything we can do to help you all.


Peg McIntire Dear Marthe, Katy and Dan,

Sad news about Charles, but very glad that you were all together with him at the end. He was a very loving father and a loyal friend to many many people. His talent and life-long conviction made for a huge contribution to society. I wish it were possible to attend the memorial service, and give you each a big hug.



Carmen Gloria Morales Dear Marta

im so sorry for your father. He was such a great man, i liked so much.
Please give my condoglianze to all the family and of course to you. im in milano... here seing usual friends, hot again as hell.
aurelio seems very excited by the show. thanks for the complimenti.
baci anche a brad


Sara Effron Dear Marthe,

...I hope that he was able to do most of what he enjoyed most in life up until the end. I will always think of him as strong and vibrant. My parents were very fond of your father and, as you know, that friendship spanned over fifty years.


John Blount and Victoria Doggett Dan -- Your father was like an uncle for me. I've known him for as long as any of my close relatives. I associate him with my golden years at Giglio and I admire his sense of humor and artistic outlook on life. Although he is from another era, he had a hipness that could have belonged to someone from our generation.

Best wishes, Giua`

Dear Dan,

I was so glad that I had the occasion to meet your father over the years. What a great man and extremely talented artist. John and I both feel your loss, and you're in our thoughts.

My love, Victoria

Steve Brodner Knowing Charles was a great privilege. His memory will stay with me forever.
Dawn Starin Hello Marthe,

Sitting here in London, reading the NY Times on line, I see that your father has died. And so I remember many of the yesterdays and I do a search on the internet, find your address and know that I have to say something - maybe lots of somethings.

Do you remember Roseton? I rarely think about it but when I do I always have you and your family in the vision.

Sitting in the tree house, feeding the chickens, walking in the woods, laughing at and with Charlie, watching the river from Les and Nancy's house, listening to Pete Seeger, spending the night at your grandma's apartment in NYC and going to see a play - I can't remember the play but I do remember that it was thrilling, watching Charlie paint and finding the application of paint on canvas absolutely astounding.

Charlie. His laugh was infectious. His love of children sincere. His determination to make things right in the world one to be emulated. His sense of justice, fairness, integrity laudable. I am glad I had the opportunity to once know him.

All the best to all of you.


Harriet FeBland,
President, ASCA
Hi Dan: It was a great pleasure to have been at the Memorial. I was most impressed with the love and support I found there from your family concerning Charles and his legacy. It was a gratifying experience for me and I commend you all for it. A few words on behalf of ASCA's 100 members, (American Society of Contemporary Artists now celebrating it's 88th year) all wish to be remembered and send their sincere condolences concerning our dear friend and colleague Charles. He was affectionately known to us as Charlie and was probably a member about 35 or more years. We always looked forward to his presence, loved his humor and personality, but mostly his humanity and concern for artists. He gladly worked with us to benefit our artists and the organization in general, joining important committees and inparticular becoming our historian for many years. In 2003 we published a book celebrating our 85th year where he wrote in collaboration with Frank Mann the most accurate ASCA historical background we've ever published. (I will be happy to send your family the book). He was an outstanding asset to the organization, and at numerous meetings would come forth with some impromptu dissertations, knowledgeably expanding upon on a point of historical data that usually brought the house down, evoking wild applause from all present. He was great fun to be with, much respected and honored as an artist and humanbeing. He was a joy, a friend, and a beloved colleague. We miss him greatly already. With our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to yourself all his family.

Sincerely, Harriet FeBland
President, ASCA

Gabrielle Goldberg and The Palliative Care Team, Mount Sinai Hospital So long as we live,
they too shall live,
for they are a part of us,
as we remember them.

Giglio 1, 24"x18", watercolor on paper, 1967