Charles W. Hawthorne

(Lodi, Illinois, 1872 - 1930, Baltimore, Maryland)

North America, American

Hawthorne was born in Lodi, Illinois, but grew up in Richmond, Maine. In 1890 he decided to become painter and moved to New York City, working during the day as a dockhand and taking classes at night at the Art Students League. During the summer of 1896, he studies with William Merritt Chase.

In 1898, Hawthorne was “overpowered” by the paintings of Franz Hals during a trip to Holland. He rebelled against Chase’s semi-Impressionist methods and elegant figure. Returning to America the following year, he established the Cape Cod Summer School of Art in Provincetown, Massachusettes. For the next six years, he painted the fishermen of the Cape in a realist, unsentimental style which can be compared with the Ash Can style of Robert Henri.

In 1906 Hawthorne went to Italy for two years. Under the influence of sixteenth-century Venetian painting, he attempted to imitate Titian’s atmospheric effects and to endow his figures with a new monumentality.

He was a popular and influential art teacher. Although his art was based on representational subject matter, Hawthorne had a modern awareness of the use of color to create plastic, spatial movement on the two-dimensional picture surface. He passed these ideas on to his students at Provincetown. Hawthorne continued to paint and teach during the 1920s. He died in Baltimore in 1930.

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