Charles Surendorf II Art Foundation

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Welcome > Charlie's Life > Indiana


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 "Logansport was a farming and railroad center of about twenty thousand people.  A large section of the town between the Wabash River and the railroad tracks was a whorehouse district.  The buildings were all two story structures with a coating of years of train smoke that concealed the paint.  It was a busy part of town.

In good times fifteen or twenty houses would be operating, with six or eight girls in each.  The protective officials insisted upon a regular checkup for each girl every Saturday morning.  The validated health stamp had to be displayed over their bed.

Once I was restoring a painting in the doctor’s office when the girls came in for a checkup.  While they waited to see the doc, I struck up some interesting conversations on art with them and was surprised to find how well informed they were.  Several of the girls admitted liking my paintings and wanted to own one if I would be willing to take it out in trade.

Once when I was pretty plastered, I got the inebriated idea I would like to paint one of the girls down on the “line”.  It was in the early afternoon when I banged my foot on the door of a house.  My arms were loaded with paints, canvas, and a large easel.

The house madame opened the door and shouted at me, “Surendorf, what in the hell do you want this time of the day?” 

I said, “I want to paint a whore!” 

“Don’t call them whores, call them sporting girls!”

I said, “I am not interested in sporting girls; I want to paint a whore!”

She pushed me off the porch with the ease of a pile-driver.  After I finished picking up my paint tubes from the snow and getting my gear assembled to carry, my desire to paint was chilled and all inspiration spent."

Words from Charlie's Biography written in 1957.  This was a excerpt from his age of 20 years old before he went off to New York to continue his education.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 11:44  

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