Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942)
By Isadora Sartosa
He is a ‘childish’ painter. Not because he paints nice girls in nice places but because his soul was full of naïf thoughts, unable to imagine the ugliness of the life; oblivious to pain, disease or death.
He was born in Hartford (Kentucky) but he moved to Ohio with 20 studying in Cincinnati, in the School of Design. There, his teachers encouraged him to go to New York entering in the Art Students League and in the National Academy of Design. Again his calcifications were fantastic and he could go to Paris, the center of art at that time.
In Paris, he was student of Benjamin Constant (remember his exotic themes), Jules-Joseph Lefebvre (remember his exotic beautiful women) and Henri Lucien Doucet (same exotic, nice atmosphere), friendly painters who never suffered from critics as the contemporary post-impressionist or avant-garde artists did. He got along with these successful painters and with the rich society: different mentions of honor in the Salon of French artists and in the Universal Exposition in 1900.
His technique his precious and nobody like him knows how to capture the beauty of flowers and landscapes and the contrasts of shadows and lights, almost enlightened, near the Spanish Sorolla.
Back in New York, he set up in Cragsmoor and wrote very many interesting articles about art in the magazine Palette and Brush with his wife, Grace. There, together with other artists (Edward Lamson Henry, Eliza Pratt Greatores, John George Brown, William Holbrook Beard, Helen Turner, Austa Sturdevant, George Inness Jr., and Frederick Dellen Baught) he founded a colony of working, where they lived in harmony and painted the beauty of the scenery.
He was elected to membership of the National Academy of Design in 1904 and was also a member of the Macdowell Club, the Allied Artists Association, the New York Watercolour Club, the American Watercolour Society and the National Arts Club.
A painter of success, a childish painter, but the world of a child, sometimes is enigmatic and metaphoric, very suitable for visual arts.
This month, Yareah magazine is going to compare the plastic works by Charles Courtney Curran with the written works by Lewis Carroll, both ‘childish’ but both enigmatic and full of secret meanings.