Artist Biography: Charles Hawthorne

Charles Webster Hawthorne

Charles Webster Hawthorne was an American portrait and genre painter and a noted teacher who founded the Cape Cod School of Art in 1899. He was born in Lodi, Illinois, and his parents returned to Maine, raising him in the state where Charles’ father was born. At age 18, he went to New York, working as an office-boy by day in a stained-glass factory and studying at night school and with Henry Siddons Mowbray and William Merritt Chase, and abroad in both the Netherlands and Italy. He studied painting under several notable artists at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League. Among his teachers were Frank Vincent DuMond and George de Forest Brush. But Hawthorne declared that the most dominant influence in his career was William Merritt Chase, with whom he worked as both a pupil and assistant. Both men were naturally talented teachers and figurative painters who were drawn to rich color and the lusciousness of oil paint as a medium. Chase passed on a Munich tradition of tone values and tone painting, and Hawthorne learned all he could. While studying abroad in the Netherlands as Chase’s assistant, Hawthorne was influenced to start his own school of art. His winters were spent in Paris and New York City, his summers at Provincetown, Massachusetts, the site of his school. In addition to founding the Cape Cod School of Art, Hawthorne was also a founding member of the Provincetown Art Association established in 1914. While in Paris Hawthorne became a full member of the French Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1917.
The Cape Cod School of Art was the first outdoor summer school for figure painting and grew into one of the nation’s leading art schools. Under thirty years of Hawthorne’s guidance, the school attracted some of the most talented art instructors and students in the country including John Noble, Richard Miller, and Max Bohm. At his school, Hawthorne gave weekly criticisms and instructive talks, guiding his pupils and setting up ideals but never imposing his own technique or method.

National Academy of Design
Art Students League
Shinnecock Summer School of art with W.M. Chase

National Academy of Design, Associate Member, National Academician
Salmagundi Club
Lotos Club
Artists Fund Society

Selected Exhibitions
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1900-31 (prize in 1915, 1923)
National Academy of Design, 1900-26 (prize in 1904, 1906, 1911, 1924, 1926)
SC, 1904
Carnegie Institute, 1908, 1925
Buenos Aires Expo, 1910
Brooklyn Art Association, 1912
Newport Art Association, 1912, 1928
Art Institute of Chicago, 1917, 1923
Concord Art Association, 1922, 1925
Philidelphia exposiion, 1923
Corcoran Gallery, 1908-30 (prize in 1923, 1926)

Selected Collections:
Museum of Modern Art
Syracuse Museum of Fine Art
Rhode Island School of Design
Worcester Art Museum
Buffalo Fine Arts Academy
Detroit Institute of Art
Chicago Art Institute
Peabody Institute, Baltimore
Herron Art Institute
Brooklyn Museum of Fine Art
Houston Museum of Fine Art
Cincinnati Museum
High Museum of Art, Atlanta
Hackley Art Museum, Muskegon, Michigan
Dayton Art Institute, Ohio
New Britain Institute, Connecticut
Museum of Art, Fort Worth, Texas
Union League, Chicago
National Academy of Design
National Arts Club
Lotos Club
Town of Provincetown, MA
Denver Art Museum
University of Illinois, Champaign
Carnegie Institute
Mulvane Museum, Washburn College, Topeka, Kansas