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American & European Paintings - September 2008
 
 
painting
 
Charles W. Hargens, Jr.
(American, 1893–1997)
Morning Light, 1920
Oil on canvas, 20 × 26 inches
Signed at lower left: “C HARGENS”
RS 5847


The illustrator Charles W. Hargens, Jr., was born in Hot Springs, South Dakota, and lived in Council Bluffs, Iowa, before moving to Philadelphia. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia with such notables as Cecilia Beaux (1855–1942), Hugh Breckenridge (1870–1937), Emil Carlsen (1853–1932), and William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), among others. He won the academy’s Cresson Traveling Scholarship in 1915, which enabled him to study in Paris. Hargens maintained a studio in Philadelphia and worked extensively as an illustrator of nationally distributed publications, such as The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, and McCall’s, and history books. According to Hargens’s obituary in the New York Times (9 February 1997), his “drawings of cowboys, Indians and Western tableaux were so accurate that Zane Grey and other writers of Westerns asked him to draw their book covers.” Hargens died at Pine Run Community in Doylestown at the age of 103.

Morning Light may represent the landscape near Hargens’s home in Carversville, Bucks County, where he painted throughout his long career. A label on the painting’s stretcher indicates that it was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy’s “One Hundred and Fifteenth Annual Exhibition” in 1920.


  


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