Charles Louis Sallée

(1913-2006), born in Oberlin, was the first African American to graduate from the Cleveland School of Art (now CIA) and an important WPA muralist and painter  whose work is included in many major public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which acquired four of Sallee’s most celebrated etchings for its permanent collection: Wrecking Crew (1940, Jumpin’ Jive (1941), Cabaret Scene and Almeda. In his important survey Modern Negro Art (1943), James A. Porter described Sallée as “a master of rhythm, so expert that the work is joyously animate. It is as though the artist found nothing but transporting gladness in life.”


“I was always looking at the brighter side of things,” Sallée once said, according to Cleveland Institute of Art scholar-in-residence Mark Bassett in a 1994 WKSU interview, “I didn’t make paintings about the effect of dire poverty or cruelty. I was always inspired to do things that were on the upbeat.” Sallée’s most famous image, Bedtime, is owned by the Cleveland Museum of Art ( Other examples of Charles Sallée’s work  can be viewed at