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Charles Reiffel (1862-1942)

Charles Reiffel’s childhood in the Midwest was unmarked by artistic expression, and when it came time to get a job, he became a clerk in a clothing store. During those ten years he began drawing, and his talent led to his being apprenticed and finally employed in lithography, a printmaking medium dependent on drawing and shading with a greasy crayon on a fine-grained stone plate. In this profession he worked in Cincinnati, New York and England. In England he noticed his colleagues producing easel works in their spare time and decided to emulate them. A nine-month vacation traveling and sketching through Europe, along with study with Carl Marr in Munich, comprised his only formal artistic training. 


Back in America and again established in the lithography business in Buffalo, New York, he began exhibiting his canvases. His success led to his giving up lithography in 1912 and settling in the artist colony of Silvermine, Connecticut. While there he developed into an important and promising artist through exhibits in major national competitive exhibitions and one-man shows in museums and commercial galleries. 


He first saw San Diego in 1925 when, during a trip to the Southwest, he took a circuitous route to avoid a storm and ended up in the city. Liking the weather and terrain, he remained there until his death. During the Depression he supplemented his income with work for the State Emergency Relief Administration, the Works Progress Administration, and the Federal Art Project.


Source: Art at the Jonathan Club, Jonathan Art Foundation

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