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 Charles Courtney Curran  (1861 - 1942)

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Lived/Active: New York/Ohio      Known for: genre, figure, landscape, and portrait painting

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Ad Code: 2
Charles Courtney Curran
from Auction House Records.
Ladies on a Hill
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
An Impressionist figure, genre, and landscape painter, Charles Curran is known as a prolific artist who created light-filled paintings, often of young women.

Curran was born in 1861, in Hartford, Kentucky, but in 1881 moved to Sandusky, Ohio.  After studying one year at the Cincinnati School of Design, he began a distinguished career when he moved to New York City in 1882 and enrolled in the National Academy of Design.  There he studied under Walter Satterlee.  At age 23, he had his first public exhibition at the Academy and won numerous prizes from that time onward.  Five years later he received the Academy's Third Hallgarten Prize for A Breezy Day, which was considered the most "meritorious painting in oil".

Following his training at the National Academy, he became a student at the Art Students' League.  He then studied at the Academie Julian in Paris from 1889 to 1891.  The French artist Jules Bastien-Lepage was a source of inspiration for Curran with his paintings of peasants as a common subject matter.  From 1887 to 1935, he exhibited regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy.

In 1903, artist Frederick Dellenbaugh invited Curran to Cragsmoor, an art center in the Hudson River Valley near Ellenville, New York.  In 1910, Curran moved into a house there and established a studio. At this time, he turned to the themes and Impressionist style that would occupy most of the remaining 30 years of his life: young women in bright sunlight.  His female subjects are often elegantly dressed, posed, and feminine, with uncomplicated and dreamy gazes.  Curran later included flowered backgrounds in his paintings, a theme to last the remainder of his career.  He occasionally painted portraits and landscapes, as well as a series of views of the Imperial Temples of Peking.

Curran was a leader of the Cragsmoor Art Colony, and often taught art and painting. He was a member of the American Watercolor Society, the National Arts Club, the Salmagundi Club, and the Society of American Artists.  His works can be seen in collections at the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.

He died in 1942.

Source:
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art

Biography from Ran Gallery:
An Impressionist figure, genre, and landscape painter, Charles Curran is known as a prolific artist who created light-filled paintings, often of young women.

Curran was born in 1861, in Hartford, Kentucky, but in 1881 moved to Sandusky, Ohio. After studying one year at the Cincinnati School of Design, he began a distinguished career when he moved to New York City in 1882 and enrolled in the National Academy of Design. There he studied under Walter Satterlee. At age 23, he had his first public exhibition at the Academy and won numerous prizes from that time onward. Five years later he received the Academy's Third Hallgarten Prize for A Breezy Day, which was considered the most "meritorious painting in oil".

Following his training at the National Academy, he became a student at the Art Students' League. He then studied at the Academie Julian in Paris from 1889 to 1891. The French artist Jules Bastien-Lepage was a source of inspiration for Curran with his paintings of peasants as a common subject matter. From 1887 to 1935, he exhibited regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy.

In 1903, artist Frederick Dellenbaugh invited Curran to Cragsmoor, an art center in the Hudson River Valley near Ellenville, New York. In 1910, Curran moved into a house there and established a studio. At this time, he turned to the themes and Impressionist style that would occupy most of the remaining 30 years of his life: young women in bright sunlight. His female subjects are often elegantly dressed, posed, and feminine, with uncomplicated and dreamy gazes. Curran later included flowered backgrounds in his paintings, a theme to last the remainder of his career. He occasionally painted portraits and landscapes, as well as a series of views of the Imperial Temples of Peking.

Curran was a leader of the Cragsmoor Art Colony, and often taught art and painting. He was a member of the American Watercolor Society, the National Arts Club, the Salmagundi Club, and the Society of American Artists. His works can be seen in collections at the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.

He died in 1942.

Biography from Pierce Galleries, Inc.:
Charles Curran was born in Hartford, Kentucky on February 13, 1861, the son of Ulysses Thompson Curran and his wife Elizabeth Thompson.  He spent his childhood in Sandusky, Ohio.  In 1883 he studied at the Cincinnati School of Design with Thomas B. Noble; the Art Students League, the National Academy of Design with Walter Satterlee; and with Constant, Lefebvre and Doucet at the Academie Julian in Paris (1889-1891).

He was a member of the National Academy of Design (ANA, 1888 and NA 1904; Council member; Recording Secretary, 1911-1920; Corresponding Sec., 1890-); the MacDowell Club; Allied Artists Association; New York Water Color Club, American Water Color Society; Society of Artists (1888); Lotos Club (Life member); Cragsmoor Barnstormer’s Theatre; Fencer’s Club and the National Arts Club.

Curran's awards include prizes at the National Academy (1888, 1893,1895, 1919); Paris Salon (1890); Columbian Exposition, Chicago (1893); Atlanta Exposition (1895); Paris Exposition (1900); Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, NY (1901, also the Assistant Director of the Expo.); Society of American Artists (1904); St. Louis Exposition (1904); Society of Washington Artists (1905) and the Salmagundi Club (1933).

His work is in the permanent collections of the Terra Museum of American Art (IL); National Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institution (Wash., D.C.); PAFA; Witte Memorial Museum (San Antonio TX); Fort Worth Art Museum (TX); Metropolitan Museum of Art; Vassar College; Columbus Museum of Art; Art Museum, Montclair, NJ and many other national collections.

The artist was a teacher at the Pratt Institute (NYC), the Cooper Union and the National Academy.

Curran married Grace Winthrop, June 12, 1888, who gave birth to three children, Louis Wickham, Emily and Stanley Thompson. Curran died on November 9, 1942 in New York City.

P.J. Pierce

Biography from The Columbus Museum of Art, Georgia:
Charles Courtney Curran was born in Hartford, Kentucky on February 13, 1861, the son of Ulysses Thompson Curran and his wife Elizabeth Thompson. (1)  He spent his childhood in Sandusky, Ohio.  He studied briefly at the Cincinnati Academy of Design, and moved to New York City in 1881.

There he studied at the National Academy of Design, under Walter Satterlee, and the Art Students League.  At age 23, he had his first public exhibition at the Academy.  He was elected an Associate of the Academy in 1886 and a full Academician in 1888. (2) He received the Academy’s Third Hallgarten Prize in 1889. 

From 1889 to 1891, Curran studied at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he studied with Benjamin Constant and Jules Joseph Lefebvre.  He won an award at the Paris Salon of 1890.  He also won prizes at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, the Paris Exposition of 1900, and the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, of which he was the Assistant Director.

In 1903, Curran was invited by artist Frederick Dellenbaugh to come to Cragsmoor, New York, an art center in the Hudson River Valley. (3)  Seven years later, Curran established a studio there.  He would spend the next thirty years dividing his time between Cragsmoor and New York City.  During this time, he taught at the Pratt Institute, the Cooper Union and the National Academy.

Curran is best known for his paintings of female figures posed within picturesque vistas of the Cragsmoor area, and usually rendered in an impressionist style.  The “new” women of these paintings embodied health and vigor.  He also painted genre scenes, portraits and landscapes, as well as a series of views of the Imperial Temples of Peking.

Curran died in New York City on November 9, 1942.


Sources include:
1. Biographical information taken from Lee M. Edwards, Domestic Bliss: Family Life in American Painting 1840-1910. Yonkers, NY: The Hudson River Museum, 1986, p. 108, and Michael David Zellman, American Art Analogue (New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986), p. 583.  The Columbus Museum’s painting will be included in a forthcoming catalogue raisonné by Kaycee Benton.

2. He married Grace Winthrop in 1888, and they had three children together.

3. Edward Lamson Henry had established an artists' colony in Cragsmoor in 1879. Kristen Miller Zohn, Columbus Museum

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.


Charles Curran is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Impressionists Pre 1940
Paris Pre 1900



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