Charlie Chaplin Caricature


Charlie Chaplin Caricature, illustrated here in March, 1915, at the Mack Sennet Keystone Studios, Edendale, California from a publicity shoot for the movie “The Tramp”, age 26.

Chaplin was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the era of silent film. He became a worldwide icon through his screen persona, “The Tramp”, and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977.

Chaplin’s parents were music hall entertainers. His father, an alcoholic, died from from cirrhosis of the liver at age 36. Two years previous his mother was committed to a mental asylum, suffering from a psychosis caused by syphilis and malnutrition.

During this time, he began along with his brother to perform on stage. In 1906, he and his brother Sydney were signed to Fred Karno’s comedy company. In 1913, during his second United States Troupe Tour, he signed with Keystone Studios for $150 per week.

In early 1914, The one-reeler “Making a Living” marked his film acting debut and was released. For his second appearance in front of the camera, Chaplin selected the costume with which he became identified.

“I wanted everything to be a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small and the shoes large … I added a small moustache, which, I reasoned, would add age without hiding my expression.”

“The Tramp” character, as it became known, debuted to audiences in “Kid Auto Races at Venice” was released on February 7, 1914.

The Essanay Film Manufacturing Company of Chicago sent Chaplin an offer of $1,250 a week with a signing bonus of $10,000. He joined the studio in late December 1914 and made numerous films, including “The Tramp” which solidified Chaplin as a leading movie star.

In 1916, a contract was negotiated with Mutual Film Corportation that amounted to $670,000 a year ($15.4 million today), which made Chaplin – at 26 years old – one of the highest paid people in the world.

Mutual gave Chaplin his own Los Angeles studio to work in, which opened in March 1916. He made only four more films for Mutual over the first ten months of 1917: “Easy Street”, “The Cure”, “The Immigrant”, and “The Adventurer”. With their careful construction, these films are considered by Chaplin scholars to be among his finest work.

Chaplin joined forces with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D. W. Griffith to form a new distribution company – United Artists, established in January 1919.
Before the creation of United Artists, Chaplin married for the first time. The 16-year-old actress Mildred Harris had revealed that she was pregnant with his child, and in September 1918, he married her quietly in Los Angeles to avoid controversy. Soon after, the pregnancy was found to be false. They divorced in April, 1920.

Filming on “The Kid” began in August 1919, with four-year-old Jackie Coogan his co-star. “The Kid” was in production for nine months until May 1920 and, at 68 minutes, it was Chaplin’s longest picture to date. Dealing with issues of poverty and parent–child separation, “The Kid” was one of the earliest films to combine comedy and drama. It was released in January 1921 with instant success, and, by 1924, had been screened in over 50 countries.

The 1940s saw Chaplin face a series of controversies, both in his work and in his personal life, which changed his fortunes and severely affected his popularity in the United States.
Parallels between himself and Adolf Hitler had been widely noted: the pair were born four days apart, both had risen from poverty to world prominence, and Hitler wore the same toothbrush moustache as Chaplin. It was this physical resemblance that supplied the plot for Chaplin’s next film, The Great Dictator, which directly satirised Hitler and attacked fascism.

In 1945, he had married his newest protégée, 18-year-old Oona O’Neill – daughter of the American playwright Eugene O’Neill. Chaplin, then 54, had been introduced to her by a film agent seven months earlier. In his autobiography, Chaplin described meeting O’Neill as “the happiest event of my life”, and claimed to have found “perfect love”. Chaplin’s son, Charles Jr., reported that Oona “worshipped” his father. The couple remained married until Chaplin’s death, and had eight children over 18 years

In 1952, Chaplin’s visa was revoked by the US Government, due to his political views. Chaplin moved to Switzerland permanently.

In 1972, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences offered Chaplin an Honorary Award, as a sign that America “wanted to make amends”. Chaplin was initially hesitant about accepting but decided to return to the US for the first time in 20 years. The visit attracted a large amount of press coverage and, at the Academy Awards gala, he was given a 12-minute standing ovation, the longest in the Academy’s history.

On the early morning of December 25, 1977, Chaplin died at home after suffering a stroke in his sleep. He was 88 years old.

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All prints are produced using Giclee printing process which is used for archival art reproduction. This process uses fade-resistant archival pigment-based ink which lasts over 100 years. All prints are printed on 310GSM, Luxurious mould-made, 100% cotton rag Archival Certified watercolor paper.

Archival Conservation Mat is included with your purchase. Mat is a high quality, 4 ply (1/16″) surround mat. These frame mats are acid-free & Lignin-free made with 100% virgin alpha-cellulose surface, core and backing papers. So your caricature with mat will fit into a standard comparable frame either “20” x 24″ or “16” x 20″ depending on the print size, (frame not included). Price also includes a Backer Board.

32″ x 40″ stretch canvas print is produced by Giclee printing process and are hand stretched over heavy duty American made white pine. The canvas print is varnished twice after printing. The canvas prints are ready to hang (complete with hanging wire).

Additional information

Weight .25 lbs
Dimensions 16 × 20 × .25 in
Print Size

32" x 40" Stretched Canvas Print $495, 20" x 24" Stretched Canvas Print $330, 11" x 14" Watercolor Print $95, 16" x 20" Watercolor Print $185