Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942)
Curran’s portraits and landscapes are among the most cherished and refined images of America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Curran was born in Hartford, Kentucky in 1861, but spent his childhood in Sandusky, Ohio. Curran’s father was an amateur painter who fostered his early love of art.
In 1888, Curran traveled to Europe where he would absorb the tenets of the French Impressionist style and hone his artistic technique. He enrolled in the Académie Julian in Paris, France and studied under the artists Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant, Henri-Lucien Doucet, Jules-Joseph Lefebvre, and P.A.J. Dagnan-Bouveret.
Curran joined a burgeoning group of American expatriates who introduced Impressionism to America at the turn of the century, including fellow artists James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, and Childe Hassam.
Curran was enormously popular among his contemporaries and his works were heralded by critics for their beauty, delicacy and sophisticated style. Curran sought solace in nostalgic landscapes that represented the simplicity of the past.
He is best known for his portraits, genre scenes, and idealized views of nature. He typically depicted tranquil, noble images of women and children set outdoors amid lush gardens and expansive pastures and hillsides, rendered with soft features and a trademark innocence and charm.