Carlisle Cooper Retrospective

SANTA PAULA, CA – A retrospective exhibit of works by renowned Ventura College Art Professor, Carlisle Cooper, will open at the Santa Paula Art Museum, 117 N. 10th Street, Santa Paula, on Saturday, June 23, 2012 with an opening reception from 4 – 6 p.m. Admission price is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served. For an invitation please call the Museum at 805-525-5554 or email

Carlisle Cooper believes that “to reveal man to himself is art’s role in this era, as it has always been in history.” Cooper’s own role has been a varied one, as a student, cartoonist, commercial artist, figurative painter and teacher. Born in Alabama in 1919, Cooper spent his childhood in North Carolina and was an avid drawer of adventure figures from a young age.

Carlisle went on to attend Duke University, and while studying cartooning at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts became illustrator of the nationally syndicated weekly cartoon strip “Fighting with Daniel Boone.” After serving in the Army from 1942 to 1945, Cooper studied nights and weekends at the American Academy of Art (Chicago) where he met teacher William Mosby. Carlisle suggests that had it not been for Mosby, a graduate of Brussels Academy of Fine Art, he would have never realized his own talent as a painter. It was during this period that Carlisle began to experiment in charcoal, oil painting and portraiture.

Cooper later received his master’s degree in art education at the Art Institute of Chicago where he studied under Isobel McKinnon Rupprecht and Edgar Rupprecht, original students and sponsors of Hans Hoffman, as well as Boris Anisfeld, internationally known Russian painter and former set-designer for the Metropolitan Opera House, New York.

Cooper’s style is painterly and flowing. He portrays his figures in strongly contrasting colors with semi-abstract backgrounds, frequently set in an outer space context. He is aware of the idea of endless space, and of the evidence of order and design which permeates our universe. These thoughts often lead to religious, philosophical and scientific ideas, some of which find their way into his paintings.

He has exhibited his paintings in Chicago, Seattle, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, West Berlin and Munich.

In 1960, Carlisle married Brigitte Dehmelt, a ballroom dancer, philosopher and favored subject of his. When the couple relocated to California, he took a position as an art instructor at Ventura College, where he taught drawing, composition, color and design, and life drawing.

In 2007, the city of Ventura awarded Cooper the Mayor’s Arts Award in the Arts Educator category, as an honorary citizen who has made a commitment to the cultural community of Ventura. While he retired from teaching in the spring of 2011, Cooper continues to paint at his home in Ventura to this day.

The exhibit will run until November 4, 2012, and may be viewed during regular Museum hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM, and Sundays, 12 PM – 4 PM. The Museum is located at 117 North 10th Street, Santa Paula, CA 93060.