Charles Stafford Duncan Biography

Charles Stafford Duncan




Charles Stafford Duncan, painter, muralist, graphic designer, and printmaker was born in Hutchinson, Kansas on 12 December 1892 but he grew up in San Francisco. He attended the University of California Berkeley and was listed in the schools registry as being in his second year in 1913; and the California School of Fine Arts where he studied under Maynard Dixon and Ralph Stackpole. He worked for the advertising firm Foster and Kleiser and befriended Otis Oldefield.

Duncan married Dorothy Gertrude Johnson on 28 August 1920 in Marin County, California and, in 1931, was hired by the architectural firm Miller and Plueger to design and execute murals for the women’s smoking lounge in the basement of the art deco Paramount Theatre in Oakland. Duncan was also art director for the McCann-Erickson advertising company in San Francisco. He designed the iconic symbol for Lucky Lager; the branding that was so successful that General Brewing changed its name to Lucky Lager Brewing in 1948. He also designed enlistment posters for the United States Navy during World War II.

He resided in San Francisco until 1945, when he moved to Sausalito. The Sausalito News from 8 March 1945 stated: Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stafford Duncan, well known artists in San Francisco, have already taken possession of the Wiper home on Spencer Ave., which they have purchased from Major Thos. B. Wiper of the United States Army.

Duncan was a member of and exhibited with the San Francisco Art Association, the California Society of Etchers, and the Bohemian Club. His work was included in the Pacific Southwest Exposition held in Long Beach in 1928, the California Pacific International Exposition held in San Diego in 1935, and the Golden Gate International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1939. Duncan served on the Fine Arts Committee of the Golden Gate International Exposition. His work was also included in the exhibition Painting and Sculpture from 16 American Cities, Museum of Modern Art, December 1933. He was awarded the Benjamin Altman Prize from the National Academy of Design in 1937. His work in represented in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the National Portrait Gallery.

Charles Stafford Duncan died in New York City on 7 June 1952 after returning from a trip to Paris.