Charles Courtney Curran
1861-1942 | American
On the Shores of Lake Erie
Signed and dated "Chase.C.Curran. 1893 (lower right)
Oil on canvas
A celebrated figure in the American Impressionism movement, Charles Courtney Curran is counted among the great American artists of the turn of the century. The present oil on canvas is exemplary of his output, bringing together an impressionist devotion to light and color with modern subject matter. Furthermore, it represents a highly personal subject for the artist, as it captures his wife overlooking Lake Erie near his family home in Ohio.
Curran is most renowned for his paintings such as this of women and children in nature, much like his contemporaries Edmund Tarbell, Frank Benson and Mary Cassatt. His bright and vibrant palette was ideal for capturing the strong and clear sunlight that pervades many of his summertime views. The atmosphere of the season is heightened by his impressionistic, brushy applications of paint, which deftly evokes the movement of a summer breeze through tall green grasses and his subject’s tresses. Thoroughly modern, this intimate portrait reveals Curran at his absolute best.
Born in 1861 in Kentucky, Curran was the son of a superintendent of schools who moved the family to Ohio when he was still an infant. Curran showed an interest in art early in life, and he first undertook studies under Thomas B. Noble at the Cincinnati School of Design. Just a year later in 1882, he moved to New York to attend the National Academy of Design. He first exhibited publicly at the age of 23 at the Academy of Design, where he would continue to exhibit for the remainder of his career. Like many artists of his generation, he briefly moved to Paris in 1889 in order to train at the Académie Julian. Upon his return to New York, he earned teaching positions at the Pratt Institute and Art Students League.
Later in his career, Curran became a central figure in the art colony at Cragsmoor, which he first visited in 1903. Curran was enchanted by the landscape located in the Shawangunk Mountains of the Hudson River Valley, and he eventually set up a summer home and studio there. Until his death in 1942, Curran split his time between Cragsmoor and New York City. He never gave up his career as a painter or teacher, maintaining positions at Pratt Institute, Cooper Union and the National Academy. Today, his works can be found in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Terra Foundation for American Art (Chicago), the Brooklyn Museum and the High Museum of Art (Atlanta).
Frame: 26 7/8" high x 30 7/8" wide
Canvas: 18 1/8" high x 22 1/8" wide