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CHARLES HAROLD DAVIS

1856-1933

Charles Harold Davis was born in Amesbury, Massachusetts. He became interested in art at a young age and was inspired to pursue training after attending an exhibit of French Barbizon painting in Boston. Shortly thereafter, he enrolled as a student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where he studied under Otto Grundmann (1844-1890). In 1881, Davis went to Paris and remained there for close to a decade. During the artist’s French years, he studied at the Academie Julian and painted landscapes of the French countryside, particularly Fontainebleau and Normandy. These French paintings have been referred to by foremost American art historian William Gerdts as softy Tonal landscapes in the Barbizon mode that are “among the finest painted by any American.” In France, Davis exhibited at the Paris Salon and at the Paris Exposition, receiving recognition at both venues. At the same time, he built his reputation in America by sending works home for exhibition in New York and Boston. Davis returned to the United States in 1890, and settled in Mystic, Connecticut, where he resided for the rest of his career. In Connecticut, Davis’ landscapes shifted in style from Tonal Barbizon to Impressionist, and by 1895 he turned his focus to a specific theme of cloudscapes, for which he is best known. In these richly colored, sun-filled paintings of the Connecticut countryside, Davis depicts low horizons and big skies filled with dancing clouds that cast shadows across the landscape. The leading figure in the Mystic Art Colony, Davis also founded the Mystic Art Association in 1913; other artists who followed Davis’ lead to Mystic were David Walkley and John Joseph Enneking. A successful painter who received much critical acclaim during his lifetime, Davis had one-man shows at William Macbeth’s gallery in New York and at Doll and Richards in Boston, and his works were exhibited in major national and international exhibitions of the period.
Davis’ paintings are in many private and public collections including:
Addison Gallery of American Art
Arizona State University Art Museum
Art Institute of Chicago
Bruce Museum of Arts and Science
Butler Institute of American Art
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Institute
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Dallas Museum of Art
Florence Griswold Museum
Georgia Museum of Art
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Lyman Allyn Art Museum
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Muskegon Museum of Art
Mystic Art Association Gallery
National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
National Museum of American Art-Smithsonian
New Britain Museum of American Art
New Mexico Museum of Art
Oakland Museum of California
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Rhode Island School of Design-Museum of Art
Sheldon Museum of Art
The Arkell Museum at Canajoharie
The Brooklyn Museum of Art
The University of Arizona Museum of Art
Union League Club of Chicago
University of Saint Joseph Art Gallery
Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
Whistler House Museum of Art