Charles Pfahl, American (1946 - 2013)

Charles Pfahl

 Realist painter, Charles Pfahl is best known for his mysterious interiors, haunting still life subjects and sumptuous figural genres.

The artist was born in Akron, Ohio on May 15, 1946. He studied with Robert Brackman in Madison, CT, John Koch in New York, with Jack Richard and in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. He was given a solo retrospective at Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City in 1980. He is an instructor of painting at the Arts Student League, NYC (1981-) and a member of the Allied Artists of America, the Audubon Artists and the Salmagundi Club.

Over the years Pfahl's style became tighter and the subjects more complicated while the process he uses has remained the same. He begins by making a few compositional studies to determine the canvas size, then he draws the image in charcoal on the prepared surface. After that he develops the painting in the traditional fat-over-lean method, blocking in the larger shapes with oil paint thinned with turpentine and addressing progressively small sections (Doherty).

Awards include the Halgarten Prize, National Academy of Design (1976, 1981); Andrew Carnegie Prize, NAD (1978); Isaac N. Maynard Prize, NAD (1980) and many more. Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City represented Pfahl until the galleries closed. The artist maintains a studio loft at 45th Street in Manhattan and lives in Buffalo, New York.

"People find all sorts of messages in my paintings, and I know that some of the objects, such as the trashy dolls, fish heads, and manikins, have an emotional and a symbolic presence. But the truth is that I don't think about historical, literary, emotional, or social ideas when I make a painting. I just paint things I find visually exciting. I've always been attracted to color and light, and that's what my paintings are about. I glimpse something, and if it stays in my mind, I try to do something with it. I usually sketch the image in a notebook so I can recall it later, but often I drop everything I'm planning and paint something I've just observed," the artist explains.

Died:  October  4, 2013 Albuquerque, New Mexico

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