1846 (Morgan County, Ohio)
1931 (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
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Indian genre-portrait and landscape painting
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Taos Pre 1940
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Inspired by Western and Indian life, Charles Craig did paintings
characterized by detailed accuracy, gained from several years spent
living with various tribes and carefully recording the details of their
culture. A fifty-year resident of Colorado Springs, he was the
state's first academically trained resident artist, and his paintings
reflected many aspects of his region including the Ute Indians.
Friends called him "Pink Face Charlie" because his disposition and his
paintings were invariably cheerful and sunny.|
Charles Craig was
born in 1846 on a farm in Morgan County, Ohio. He began painting
as a boy, creating his palette from natural materials and canvases made
from oil and flour treated cotton cloths.
At the age of 19, he
traveled West by going up the Missouri River as far as Fort Benton,
Montana. For four years, 1865-1869, he explored, sketched and
lived with Indian tribes. It was during this time that he
realized he needed to further his technical skills in order to record
his experiences accurately. He returned to Ohio and set up a
studio in Zanesville, where he painted portraits at $75.00 each to earn
enough money to finance his art education.
Then he studied for
a year in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
where Peter Moran, brother of Thomas Moran and a painter of Indians,
was influential as one of his teachers.
Returning to Zanesville, Charles Craig did a painting titled Custer's Last Charge,
which had detailed descriptions of battlefield weapons, etc. In
1881, at the urging of his friend, Jack Howland, Craig headed West
permanently, stopping first in Taos, New Mexico where he became "the
first western artist to paint in Taos". (Samuels 112)
settled in Colorado Springs for the next fifty years, the earliest
resident artist in that resort community and one of the longest to have
an active career there.
Craig set up a studio in the building of
Howbert's Opera House. He supplemented his income by giving art
lessons and made regular visits to the the Ute reservation in
Southwestern Colorado. One of those trips, in 1893, was with his
friend, painter Frank Sauerwein.
Craig's Indian paintings were
noted for their detailed accuracy, although many of his later works
showed Barbizon influence of Tonalism. He exhibited regularly in
the Antlers Hotel of Colorado Springs, but a fire there in 1895
destroyed many of his works.
Craig died in Colorado Springs in 1931.
Michael David Zellman, "300 Years of American Art"
Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West
|Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, I:|
|Born on a farm in Morgan County, Ohio, Charles Craig is known as an
important Indian genre painter, Western landscapist and
illustrator. Self-taught as an artist, he made his first Western
trip up the Missouri River in 1865, spending four years with various
tribes of Indians and getting as far as Fort Benton in Montana. |
Returning from his trip, Craig then opened a studio in Zanesville,
Ohio. He painted portraits from life or photographs for $75 each
to earn his tuition for art training. Craig was a student at the
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in 1872 to 1873, and also studied with
Peter Moran, the younger brother of Thomas Moran. When Craig
returned to Zanesville, he painted Custer’s Last Charge, using descriptions and implements from the battlefield.
In 1881, on his way to Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the urging of
fellow painter Jack Howland, Craig became the first major Western
artist to paint in Taos, New Mexico. In 1883, he returned to New
Mexico to sketch in Taos and Santa Fe. However, Craig settled in
Colorado Springs, where he made his home for 50 years, and his first
studio was in Howbert’s Opera House building.
His paintings of this period are noted for their accuracy of
ethnological detail, resulting from his many trips to the Ute
reservation in southwestern Colorado. One of those trips, in
1893, was with Frank Sauerwein. Craig’s style during that time
was hard-edged and literal. A large number of paintings of this
period, however, were lost in 1895 due to a fire in the old Antler's
Hotel, which at that time housed Craig’s studio. As one of the first
trained Western artists in the area, he took an active part in the art
life of Colorado, and his later painting style demonstrated the
Called “Pink-Face Charlie,” Craig was always sunny and optimistic, and so were his paintings.
Craig died in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1931.
Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West
|Biography from Thomas Minckler Fine Art:|
|Charles Craig (1846-1931) was inspired by Western and Indian
life. His paintings were characterized by detailed accuracy of
Indian life, gained from several years spent living with various
Craig was born in 1846 on a farm in Morgan County, Ohio. He began
painting as a boy, creating his palette from natural materials and
canvases made from oil and flour treated cotton cloths. His
nickname was “Pink Faced Charlie” as he was always sunny and optimistic
and so were his paintings.
At the age of 19 in 1865, Craig traveled West as far as Fort Benton,
Montana, where he lived with Indian tribes for four years. It was
during this time that Craig realized he needed to further his technical
skills in order to record his experiences accurately. He returned
to Ohio and set up a studio where he painted portraits to earn enough
money to finance his art education.
Craig studied for a year at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine
Arts. He then went on to work with Peter Moran, brother of Thomas
Moran, both of who were accomplished painters. In 1881, Craig
moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado where he resided for the next 50
years. He was one of the first resident artists in that resort
community. He was also the first major Western artist to paint in
Taos, NM in 1881 and 1883.
In Colorado Springs, he set up a studio and supplemented his income by
giving art lessons. Craig’s paintings during this period were
literal and reflected his frequent trips to the Ute reservation in
Southwestern Colorado. Craig exhibited regularly in the town’s
Antlers Hotel, and a fire there in 1895 destroyed many of his
works. Others are exhibited in private collections throughout the
United States and Europe.
Craig died in Colorado Springs in 1931.
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