Charles Sallée was born in Oberlin and grew up in Sandusky, Ohio. He was the first African-American to graduate from the Cleveland School of Art (now the Cleveland Institute of Art). He worked for the Works Progress Administration from 1936 to 1941 and was commissioned to do several murals in the Cleveland area at schools and hospitals. He served in the US Army in WWII as a supervising draftsman for the Corps of Engineers, making tactical maps for the US Air Force. After the war, Sallée concentrated on his portraits, life drawings and still lifes, all of which were made in a sensitive, realistic style. He also supported himself as an interior designer for Cleveland area restaurants, bars and hotels -most notably Stouffers Hotel downtown Cleveland (1970s). Sallée”s work is included in many major public and private collections.