1878 – 1947
Born in Lyon, France,
Armand Carmen Wargny studied painting at the Académie Colarossi and
with Félicien Rops before coming to the United States around
1904. Wargny settled in Chicago and found work as a cartoonist
for the Chicago Tribune. He enrolled in evening classes
at the Art Institute where he met Julius Lars Hoftrup (1874-1954), the
Swedish-born painter from Pine City.
Sharing the desire to observe and paint nature directly, the two
artists began a lifelong association that included painting trips along
the Mississippi River, working and exhibiting together in New York City
and, in 1931, the establishment of Arts Torp, the studio and informal
art community located on the Hoftrup farm in Pine City. The
relaxed, supportive atmosphere at Arts Torp attracted visits by a
number of professional artists, among them Grant Wood, Marsden Hartley,
and Norman Kent.
Wargny moved his studio and residence to Arts Torp in 1937 after a
devastating fire in his Union Square studio in New York City and
remained there until his death in 1947.
strongly influenced by the plein-air paintings of the impressionists
from his early years in France. Indeed, Wargny’s paintings reveal
a similar sensitivity for shimmering forms dissolved in light and by
color. Yet in his drawings and prints, Wargny reveals his eye for
caricature from his background as a newspaper illustrator.
Inspired by casual incident, Wargny created sketches of everyday
life: street vendors, workers on the Brooklyn docks, horses
hauling a load. In each sketch, he emphasized the defining
characteristic, from a shivering boy standing on a dock to the dragging
feet of tired work horses. Whether using crisp ink lines or
webbed shadings of pencil, Wargny’s works are vivid impressions of a
deeply felt nature, sensitively rendered.
Submitted by John D. O'Hern, Executive Director and Curator Arnot Art Museum