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Charles Webster Hawthorne (American, 1872-1930)


Also known as:  Hawthorne, Charles; Hawthorne, Charles W.

Birth Place: Maine (United States)

In addition to his expressive, often haunting, plein-air portraits of New England women, children, and fishermen, artist Charles Hawthorne's most enduring legacy was the Cape Cod School of Art, which he founded in Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1899. By this time in his career, Hawthorne had already accumulated major National Academy of Design awards for his paintings, which coupled the Impressionistic brushwork of William Merritt Chase with the muted palette and figural power of Frans Hals and Rembrandt. His students, including Richard Miller and John Noble, learned the importance of simplifying compositional color and details, employing bold brushstrokes, and working outdoors in order to capture true light effects. The success of the Cape Cod School helped grow the once-sleepy fishing of Provincetown into the largest art colony in the world by 1916. Flocking to the bohemian mecca were such notables as artists Henry Demuth, Chile Hassam, Ernest Lawson, and Ben Shahn; writers Eugene O'Neill and Susan Glaspell; and art patron Mabel Dodge.

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