Charles Green Shaw

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Charles Green Shaw (1 May 1892 – 2 April 1974) was an American painter and writer.

A significant figure in American abstract art, Shaw enjoyed a varied career as a writer and illustrator, poet, modernist painter, and collector. Born to a wealthy family and orphaned at a young age, Charles and his twin brother were raised by their uncle, Frank D. Shaw. At age nine, he was already an avid painter and had illustrated his first book, The Costumes of Nations. He also wrote and illustrated the children's book, It Looked Like Spilt Milk, published in 1947. Shaw graduated from Yale in 1914, where he contributed artwork to campus humor magazine The Yale Record.[1] At Yale, he was also a member of the St. Anthony Hall aka Delta Psi Fraternity [1], and completed a year of architectural studies at Columbia University. He worked as a freelance writer for The New Yorker, The Smart Set, and Vanity Fair, where his focus was the 1920s theater and café society. In 1927, Shaw enrolled in Thomas Hart Benton's class at the Art Students League of New York. He also studied privately with George Luks. Shaw’s work is part of most major collections of American Art, including the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Guggenheim, the Smithsonian Institution, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Corcoran Gallery.

As a founding member of the American Abstract Artists Shaw participated in the first annual exhibition. His article, A Word to the Objector, was included in the group's first publication.



  • Shaw, Charles G. (1927). Heart in a hurricane. Illustrations by Ralph Barton. New York: Brentano's.
  • — (1928). The low-down. New York: Henry Holt.
  • — (1940). The giant of Central Park. New York: William R. Scott.
  • — (1941). The guess book. New York: William R. Scott, Inc.
  • — (1947). It Looked Like Spilt Milk. New York: Harper.
  • — (1959). Into the light : poems. New York: Fine Editions Press.

Essays, reporting and other contributions[edit]

  • C. G. S. (February 21, 1925). "From the opinions of a New Yorker". The Theatre. The New Yorker. 1 (1): 14.
  • — (February 21, 1925). "The Painted Lily : a portrait". The Theatre. The New Yorker. 1 (1): 14.
  • — (February 21, 1925). "Magic a la mode". The New Yorker. 1 (1): 15.
  • Shaw, Charles G. (February 28, 1925). "Speaking of the theatre". The New Yorker. 1 (2): 28.
  • C. G. S. (March 14, 1925). "From the last row on a first night". The New Yorker. 1 (4): 16.
  • — (March 14, 1925). "I go on a diet, and —". The New Yorker. 1 (4): 19.
  • Shaw, Charles G. (March 21, 1925). "A young man-about-town". New York, Etc. The New Yorker. 1 (5): 24.
  • C. G. S. (March 21, 1925). ""What's in a name?"". Books. The New Yorker. 1 (5): 29.
  • — (April 4, 1925). "Pick-ups here and there". The New Yorker. 1 (7): 28.
  • — (April 18, 1925). "Familiar portraits". The New Yorker. 1 (9): 22.
  • — (April 25, 1925). "Speaking of Europe". The New Yorker. 1 (10): 28.
  • — (May 2, 1925). "A season's recollection". The New Yorker. 1 (11): 20.
  • — (May 2, 1925). "Why is it that when I plan to pass a quiet evening alone that—". The New Yorker. 1 (11): 28.
  • — (May 16, 1925). "From the diary of a would-be pedestrian". The New Yorker. 1 (13): 20.
  • — (May 30, 1925). "On the wire". The New Yorker. 1 (15): 23.
  • Brown, Margaret Wise (1944). Black and white. Pictures by Charles G. Shaw. New York: Harper and Brothers.
  • — (1947). The winter noisy book. Pictures by Charles G. Shaw. New York: W. R. Scott.
  • McCullough, John G. (1947). Dark is dark. Pictures by Charles G. Shaw. New York: W. R. Scott.
  • Scott, William R. (1951). The apple that Jack ate. Painting by Charles G. Shaw. New York: W. R. Scott.

Exhibition catalogs[edit]

  • New York cubists : works by A.E. Gallatin, George L.K. Morris, and Charles G. Shaw from the thirties and forties, January 16-February 27, 1988. New York: Hirschl & Adler Galleries. 1987.


  1. ^ Oral history interview with Charles Green Shaw, 1968 April 15, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
  • Charles Green Shaw biography
  • Staff report (April 3, 1974). Charles G. Shaw, 81, Abstract Painter. The New York Times
  • Russell, John (January 3, 1976). Art: The American Idiom of Charles Shaw. The New York Times
  • Personal papers archived at the Smithsonian Institution [2]

External links[edit]