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’s 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’s 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.
Source: The Cooley Gallery
Society of American Artists, New York, NY
National Academy of Design, New York, NY
Copley Society, Boston, MA
Lotos Club, New York, NY
National Arts Club, New York, NY
Society of Mystic Artists, Mystic, CT
Honorable Mention (Paris Salon, 1887)
Silver Medal (Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1889)
Palmer Prize (Art Institute of Chicago, 1890)
Medal (Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic‚s Association, Boston, 1890)
Medal (Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893)
Grand Gold Medal (American Art Association, New York, 1896)
Cash Prize (American Art Association, 1897)
Potter Palmer Prize (Chicago Art Institute, 1898)
Bronze Medal (Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900)
Lippincott Prize (Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1901)
Silver Medal (Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, 1901)
Silver Medal (Universal Exposition, St. Louis, 1904)
Silver Medal (Universal Exposition International, 1910)
Gold Medal (Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, 1915)
Second W.A. Clark Prize and Corcoran Silver Medal (Corcoran Gallery,
Saltus Medal (National Academy of Design, 1921)