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because of her unique technique,
Mrs. Perdew’s painted decoys
eventually became more valuable
than those painted by her husband.
harlie used various kinds of tools
over the years, many of which he
made himself. In later years he used
a band saw to cut out the body and
head blocks, but it should come as no
surprise that Perdew still did the
shaping with a worn pocket knife.
Both the head and body were given a
final sanding by hand, and then of
course, hand painted. All of
Charlie’s gunning decoys were
hollow, but his decorative half-size
and miniature decoys were carved
from solid wood. During the last
10-12 years of his life, Perdew’s work
was decorative only. He made
ornamental decoys, duck calls and
many species of life-size songbirds
but Perdew was never able to keep
up with demand since he carved
each item by hand.
ecoys and duck calls carved
during the mid-1800’s to the
mid-1900’s are now in demand by
collectors and are considered great
works of art. Carvers crafted
original pieces with precision and
attention to detail, greatly increasing
their artistic and monetary value in
today’s art market. Many sell at
prices ranging from $1,500 to $25,000
with extremely rare decoys selling
for hundreds of thousands of
dollars.
he Lakeview Museum in Peoria,
Illinois, exhibits the folk art of duck
decoys, displaying waterfowl
created by some of the best carvers
in the country. These lifelike
decoys with their distinctive
patterns are a special folk art, and
one need not be a hunter to admire
them.
harles Henry Perdew passed
away September 21, 1963 at age 89.
As Clark wrote in Perdew’s
biography, Charlie was “a rugged
individualist, a great decoy maker
and…a fine American who many
people shall never forget.”
“Of all our folk
arts, none is more strikingly
American than the decoy”
HENRY••• PERDEW••• ILL.
Charlie Perdew's first decoys were
"plain" with no name on the keel
weight. Later, the keel weight was used
to identify the maker or manufacture.
Waterfowl decoy without artistic color
Salt & Pepper Shakers, $2,000 value in 1999
Vigoré
At a Guyette & Schmidt ,
World’s Leading
and North America
Decoy auction,
a decoy sold for over
$230,000
T
D
C
C
Charles Perdew (1874-1963), the most heralded and
interneationally recognized of all Illinois River Valley
decoy carvers, shared an artistic partnership with his wife
Edna (1882-1974) who painted most of his work.
Together they produced thousands of pieces of waterfowl
sculpture. Private and public collectors consider these
decoys as works of art that communicate the rich history
of river life culture
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