Charles Gustav Thorson was born in Winnipeg in 1890. Charlie Thorson was a seminal figure in the development of animation in the United States and Canadian children’s literature. Beginning with political cartoons for local Icelandic language newspapers, his drawing career encompassed work in several fields and disciplines. He illustrated Eaton’s catalogues at the noted Canadian art studio Brigden’s, designed and developed characters at nearly every major Hollywood animation studio of the pre-World War II era, worked extensively in commercial and industrial advertising, and made some of the first attempts to develop Canadian children’s literature. Among his many accomplishments, Thorson has been credited for designing beloved animated characters Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Bugs Bunny. He died in Haney, British Columbia in 1966.
Until fairly recently, with the publication of Gene Walz’s illustrated biography, Thorson’s work and life, as well as his prominent role in developing modern popular art forms in North America, has been largely neglected. This virtual exhibit is designed to give a long needed overview of his life and career and make him known and understood to a new generation of researchers and admirers.
For further information on the life and work of Charlie Thorson, see:
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