Charles Pfahl /   Charles Alton Pfahl

United States 1946 - 2013

Contemporary Realism

Charles Pfahl
Charles Alton Pfahl
United States
October 6, 2015
Aya received her MA in English Language and Literature in 2012. She likes dancing, traveling, cycling and spending time with her pets.

Charles Pfahl was an American Realist painter. He was born in Akron, Ohio in 1946, and died in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2013. During his career, which spanned more than five decades, he painted psychological and dark images. They evoked strong emotional responses and centered around life, death, and fleeting childhood memories.

He painted across genres. His portraiture, moral allegories, dream narratives and still-lifes display his interest for color and light. Evoking strong feelings and disturbing, his paintings always developed in the same way. The process would begin by Pfahl making a few compositional studies and determining the size of the canvas. Then he would draw the image in charcoal, and start developing the painting in the traditional fat-over-lean method.

When the artist was 12, his grandmother, who also studied painting, sent him to her teacher in Akron, Ohio, the colorist Jack Richard, who was influenced by the painter Robert Brackman. Later on, Charles started attending Brackman’s classes during summers. He also studied with New York Realist painter John Koch, whom he met upon moving to New York in 1969. Koch influenced his work and life, and became his friend and mentor. He inspired Pfahl to master the use of light and color in his paintings.

Pfahl’s works are featured in numerous private and public collections, such as Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio and the Salmagundi Club in New York. His work was exhibited in solo and group shows across the United States. His last solo exhibition was hosted by 101/Exhibit in Miami, Florida in 2009. Charles Pfahl received many awards for his work.

Featured image: Charles Pfahl – Untitled (detail) – 2014, Digital C Print, Edition of 3, photo credit Sallie Carothers

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2015Gallery Feature101 Exhibit, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2011ACOPAL Exhibition of Contemporary American RealismNational Arts Club, New YorkGroup
2009Charles Pfahl101 Exhibit, Miami, FloridaSolo
2009101 Exhibit @ ArtHamptonsNew YorkGroup
2009101 Exhibit @ Miami ProjectsMiami, FloridaGroup
2008Charles PfahlAltitude Fine Art, Santa Fe, New MexicoSolo
2007The Figure from Cubism to Post ModernGerald Peters Gallery, New YorkGroup
2004UnknownSpanierman & Spanierman Modern, New YorkGroup
2003Charles PfahlGerald Peters Gallery, New York CitySolo
2002Recent Acquisitions ExhibitionColumbus Museum of ArtGroup
1999UnknownGerald Peters Art Gallery, Santa Fe, New MexicoGroup
1996Two PaintersMagidson Fine Art, New York CityGroup
1995Re-presenting RepresentationArnot Art Museum, Elmira, NYGroup
1995ICE Collection Opening ExhibitionNew York CityGroup
1995UnknownEckert Fine Art, Indianapolis, IndianaGroup
1994An Original Idea Wunderlich & Company, New YorkGroup
1994Flowers Babcock Gallery, New YorkGroup
1993Contemporary Realists Wunderlich & Company, New YorkGroup
1987Charles PfahlGrand Central Art Gallery, New YorkSolo
1986Mostre Artisti Contemporaei Tuscania, ItalyGroup
1984The Precise Eye Grand Central Art Gallery, New YorkGroup
1982Charles PfahlCondado Gallery, San Juan, Puerto RicoSolo
1980Retrospective Grand Central Art Gallery, New YorkSolo
1979The Still Life Westmoreland County MuseumGroup
1978The Enduring Triumph of Realism Florence Art Gallery and Grand Central Art GalleryGroup
1978Five Artists & Their Models F.A.R. Gallery, New YorkGroup
1976Childe Hassam Purchase Exhibition American Academy of Arts & LettersGroup
1975Charles PfahlGallery Blue, Medina, OhioSolo
1975Charles PfahlNashua Arts and Science Center, New HampshireSolo
1975Three Centuries of the American Nude New York Cultural CenterGroup
1974UnknownButler Institute of American Art Group
1973Interiors F.A.R. GalleryGroup
1972Realist Revival New York Cultural CenterGroup
1971Charles PfahlHarbor GallerySolo