Charles Francis Tauss was born on March 10, 1927. A lifelong New Yorker, Tauss was an artist, collector, and conservator.
A veteran, Tauss served in the Army of Occupation in France and Germany from 1945 to 1947. He painted his first work, Victory Garden in 1947. This painting is in the collection of the New York Historical Society.
He earned a Masters in Art and History from Yale University in the 1950s. While at Yale, Tauss was a student of and studio-assistant to Joseph Albers. The effects of this relationship are easily visible in Tauss’ geometric works and his experimental use of different varnishes and finishes on his paintings. Like Albers, Tauss was known to meticulously list the specific varnishes he used on the backs of his works.
Tauss’ style of work incorporates European influences from the constructivists and the Bauhaus movement, but is mostly characterized by the American ‘Hard-edge’ abstract school of painting of the late 1950s and 60s. Tauss exhibited many of these works the early and mid 1970s at Ward-Nasse Gallery in SoHo.
Tauss was also a world-class conservator and restoration expert in the field of Byzantine Art and Frescoes. Tauss participated in the work of the Byzantine Institute of Dumbarton Oaks, a branch of Harvard University. He developed a 14-step process to remove the whitewash covering that had obscured frescoes in some of the most famous churches and building in the world, including Chora Church and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
At the time of his death in 2000, Tauss had lived in the same apartment at 1183 Grand Concourse in the Bronx for 58 years. He and his family moved there in 1942. Fourteen year later his family moved yet again, he stayed and took over the apartment and resided there alone for the rest of his life. For the last sixteen years although suffering from failing health, traumatized by the loss of a vast amount of his paintings and sculpture that had been destroyed through the neglect of the apartment building’s superintendent, and other personal setbacks that plagued him, he still continued to make art daily, and surround himself with all the things that he loved throughout his life.