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 Charles H. Chapin  (1830 - 1889)

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Lived/Active: New York/California/Louisiana/Massachusetts      Known for: landscape painting, illustrator-Civil War

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Ad Code: 3
Charles H Chapin
from Auction House Records.
Haines Catskill Mountains 1874
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Charles Chapin had studios in Boston, New York City, New Orleans, Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Appearing to change locations continually, he had an itinerant career as an illustrator, art teacher and painter of portraits and landscapes in oil and watercolor.

Chapin painted landscapes that reflect the drama and emotional expression characteristic of 19th-century landscape painting, especially the excitement over natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon and scenes in the Adirondack Mountains. He was also noted for his portrait of Polish actress Helena Modjeska , posed when she played the role of Mary Queen of Scots.  In New Orleans he did Creole subjects.

He was a founder of the Lotus Club in New York City, and then headed to California, where he was in San Francisco from 1876 to 1877 and exhibited with the San Francisco Art Association.  After that he went to the southern United States.

From 1882 to 1885, he was active in New Orleans, listing himself as a portrait and landscape painter and "teacher of painting". (Mahe 73)  In 1882 and 1883, he spent summers in New Orleans, but was there most of the year during 1884 and 1885.

In the 1880s, Chapin also painted southern Florida scenes on several winter visits to Florida where he focused primarily on the central and southern Gulf coast including the Everglades.  Many persons, not knowing of his time in Florida, have mistakenly identified the location of those paintings as Louisiana, but they are distinctive from his Louisiana paintings in that the tropical foliage depicted would not grow in Louisiana.  The Florida views date almost exclusively from the 1880's. (Arnold)

By 1887, he had moved to Los Angeles.

Charles Chapin was an illustrator of Civil War scenes for Harper's Weekly in 1864, and also painted in Arizona.  One work by him of the Grand Canyon is dated 1886 and titled Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.  It is in the collection of the First National Bank of Chicago.

In December 1888, Chapin disappeared, and in March 1889 a body identified as his was recovered from the North River in the Adirondack region of upstate New York.

Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940
George Arnold, Arnold Fine Art, Ormond Beach, Florida
John Mahe, Encyclopaedia of New Orleans Artists

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Massachusetts , Chapin appears to have been an itinerant artist.  He had studios in Boston and New Orleans where he painted Creole subjects.  During the 1860s he illustrated scenes of the Civil War for Harper's Weekly.

During the early 1870s he was in New York and painted in the Adirondack Mountains. 

He exhibited in San Francisco in 1876-77 at the Mechanics' Institute.  By the mid-1880s he had moved to Los Angeles.

Works held: Butler Institute (Ohio); Brooklyn Museum; First National Bank of Chicago.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Census; AAW; CD; J.H. Von Keith’s Westward-Southern California (Green & Co, LA, 1887), p.77; DR.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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Charles Chapin is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Civil War Art

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