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 Charles Herbert Woodbury  (1864 - 1940)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Maine      Known for: marine, landscape, interior paintings, etchings

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Ad Code: 2
Charles Herbert Woodbury
from Auction House Records.
Beach and Dune
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, an industrial city about ten miles north of Boston, Charles Woodbury remains among the most influential artists to work in Ogunquit, Maine and in Boston.  He taught more than 4,000 students including ones at Wellesley College, had more than 100 solo exhibitions, and wrote three widely read art education books.  He remains a strong influence on art education.

Woodbury was from a comfortable, well-established family.  He sold his first oil painting when he was 15 and at age 17 in 1884, was the youngest person ever elected to the Boston Art Club.  He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and credited Ross Turner, his watercolor instructor, as launching his painting career.

As a young resident painter of Lynn, he was a leader among his artist colleagues in the formal application of paint in beach and marsh scenes, a unique subject for that time. Immediately after graduating from MIT, he set up a studio at 22 School Street in Boston near Charles Green, his close friend and painting colleague.  They determined to make a living only from their painting, and they succeeded.

His formal art training began in 1890 when he, a newly married man, enrolled in the Academie Julian in Paris and stayed for a year.  Returning to the Boston area, he became a prominent plein-air painter and living until 1940 embraced Impressionism.

Sources include:
American Art Review, August 1998
Peter Falk (Editor), Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from Pierce Galleries, Inc.:
Charles H. Woodbury (American, 1864-1940):

Woodbury was born in Lynn, Massachusetts July 14, 1864 the son of Seth H. Woodbury and Mary Parker.  He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an Engineering Degree with Honors, 1882-1886.  He took a few Life Classes at the Boston Art Club, 1883.

After marrying Susan Marcia Oakes (1865-1913) in 1890, the couple went to study in Holland and then Paris, Charles at the Academie Julian in Paris with Boulanger and Lefebvre and Marcia at the Laxar's School, 1890-1891.

He was a member of the Salmagundi Club (1899); an Associate (1906) and an Academician (1907) at the National Academy of Design; Ogunquit Art Association; Society of Water Color Painters; New York Water Color Club; Guild of Boston Artists; Boston Society of Watercolor Painters.

He won awards at the Lynn Art Exhibition for Amateurs (1880); Boston Art Club (1884, 1895); Atlanta Exposition (gold, 1895); Nashville, Tennessee Centennial (1897), Mechanics' Fair, Boston; Paris Exposition (1900); Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo (1901); Worcester Art Museum (1903,1907); St. Louis Exposition (1904); Carnegie Institute (1905); Buenos Aires Exposition (1910); American Water Color Society (1911); W.A. Clark Prize and Corcoran Medal (1914); Pan-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco (gold, 1915); Penn. Academy of F.A. (gold, 1924); Brooklyn (1931); Palmer Marine Prize and Ranger Fund Award, National Academy (1932); Noyes Prize, Society of American Artists (1933).

He is represented at the Gardner Museum; Corcoran Gallery of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Herron Art Institute; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; St. Louis Art Museum; Boston Public Library; Berkshire Atheneum; Detroit Art Institute; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Joslyn Art Museum; Worcester Art Museum; R.I. School of Design; Telfair Academy, Savannah; Colby College; Wellesley Colllege and in 100's of other museums and institutions.

Woodbury was given over 60 one-man exhibitions, the first being at the J. Eastman Chase Gallery, Boston (1887) and the last at the Winchester Public Library, MA (1939). 18 Memorial Shows were given (1940-41). In 1945 the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston held a Retrospective Exhibition. In 1968, Adelson Galleries, Inc. (then of Boston) and in 1978 Vose Galleries of Boston gave Retrospectives. In 1988 M.I.T. gave a monumental Woodbury exhibition titled Earth, Sea and Sky that traveled to museums through 1993.

Woodbury taught art at the Worcester Art Association (1895); Wellesley College (1899-1906; 1913-1914); Dartmouth College; Pine Hill School (1907-1910); Ogunquit summer art school (1898-1939); Director, Woodbury School, Boston; Associate Professor, School of the Chicago Art Institute.

Author: The Art of Seeing (1925) and Painting and the Personal Equation (1922).

He was survived by his son David O. Woodbury of California (b. 1896).

P.J. Pierce

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

Charles Woodbury is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Impressionists Pre 1940
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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