Charles Putnam Safford Biography

Charles Putnam Safford




Charles Putnam Safford (Charlie) was born in Logansport, IN on Nov. 18, 1900. Safford ran away from home at age 14 and spent his teen years as a hobo. He briefly studied at the Pratt Institute in N.Y. and with Roi Clarkson Colman.

Upon moving to California in the 1930s, he worked in the Coachella Valley and San Diego, and as an illustrator with the WPA in San Francisco. After serving in WWII, where he received an injury in Okinawa that would eventually lead to his death. After the war he attended the Hans Hofmann School in NYC on the GI Bill.

Safford returned to San Francisco where he did large, gestural Abstract Expressionist works, often inspired by his trips to the Southwestern desert. Safford was an early mentor to many of the Beat Generation in North Beach and personified the bohemian lifestyle to many of the younger artists and poets of the next generation.

Charlie Safford died in Mendocino, California on July 6, 1963.