Charles Herbert Woodbury, born in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1864, is recognized as the founder of Ogunquit’s first art colony. Finding an early passion for art, in 1882 he had his first major exhibition at the Boston Art Club, one of the youngest artists at that time to achieve such recognition. He meanwhile enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, relying on sales of his paintings and on giving art lessons to support himself and his parents. Upon graduating from MIT with honors in mechanical engineering in 1886, he began teaching art classes in Boston and devoting himself to painting, finding great success painting up the New England coast. Woodbury married Susan Marcia Oakes (1865-1913), the daughter of a South Berwick, Maine judge and a student in one of his early classes, in 1890. After their wedding 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.
Upon return their return from abroad, Woodbury and his wife settled in Ogunquit in 1896, purchasing five acres of land off Shore Road and building the town’s first art studio in 1898. That summer, Woodbury offered his art class, a six-week course in painting and drawing from nature in oil, watercolor, and pencil. Over the years that followed, he traveled to several American cities to conduct art classes and judge exhibitions.
Woodbury was a member of: the Salmagundi Club (1899); an Associate (1906) and an Academician (1907) at the National Academy of Design; the Ogunquit Art Association; the Society of Water Color Painters; the New York Water Color Club; the Guild of Boston Artists; and the Boston Society of Watercolor Painters.
He won awards at the Lynn Art Exhibition for Amateurs (1880); the Boston Art Club (1884, 1895); the Atlanta Exposition (gold, 1895); the Nashville, Tennessee Centennial (1897); the Mechanics’ Fair, Boston; the Paris Exposition (1900); the Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo (1901); the Worcester Art Museum (1903,1907); the St. Louis Exposition (1904); the Carnegie Institute (1905); the Buenos Aires Exposition (1910); the American Water Color Society (1911); the W.A. Clark Prize and the Corcoran Medal (1914); the Pan-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco (gold, 1915); the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (gold, 1924); Brooklyn (1931); the Palmer Marine Prize and Ranger Fund Award, at the National Academy (1932); the Noyes Prize, the Society of American Artists (1933).
Woodbury’s works are in public and private
Addison Gallery of American Art (Andover, MA)
Chrysler Museum of Art (Norfolk, VA)
El Paso Museum of Art (El Paso, TX)
Farnsworth Art Museum (Rockland, ME)
Frederick R Weisman Art Museum (Minneapolis, MN)
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, MA)
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City, NY)
Mobile Museum of Art (Mobile, AL)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA)
National Academy of Design Museum (New York City, NY)
Ogunquit Museum of American Art (Ogunquit, ME)
Print Club of Albany (Schenectady, NY)
Rhode Island School of Design-Museum of Art (Providence, RI)
San Diego Museum of Art (San Diego, CA)
Telfair Museum of Art (Savannah, GA)
The Art Gallery, University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)
The University of Michigan Museum of Art (Ann Arbor, MI)
Worcester Art Museum (Worcester, MA)