Charles Reiffel biography

Charles Reiffel

Charles Reiffel was an American artist who represented post-impressionism. His plein-air landscapes and lithographs depicted the picturesque views of Californian nature.
Ethnicity: Charles Reiffel’s father came to the United States from Bavaria at the end of 1840s, and the artist’s mother was born in Virginia.

Charles Reiffel was born on April 9, 1862, in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. He was a son of Jacob Reiffel and Nancy Ellen Marshall.

Reiffel spent his childhood in Indianapolis and in Kansas City, Missouri. He barely revealed himself as a future distinguished artist.

Charles Reiffel attended public schools in Kansas City, Missouri, and Indianapolis, Indiana.As to the artistic education, he was mostly an autodidact. The only formal training he received was at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich where he was briefly taught by the painter Carl von Marr.Education period of Charles Reiffel in Munich Academy of Fine Arts

Charles Reiffel started his professional career at the age of seventeen when he worked as a clerk in a clothing store during the following ten years. He expressed his painting abilities making ornamental designs for envelopes or on wrapping paper.

Later, Reiffel earned his living at the Stowbridge Lithography Company where he made theatrical posters placing other people’s designs on the stones.

Then, the artist pursued this commercial activity in Europe and England where he spent six years. While in Nottingham, Reiffel joined the staff of the Stafford Company. He worked on poster designs for English business persons. In his leisure time, Charles Reiffel communicated with local artists and sketched a lot.

At the beginning of the new century, the artist came back to the United States and settled down in Buffalo, New York. He participated at the exhibition of the Buffalo Society of Artists in 1908. Four years later, he relocated to Silvermine community in Norwalk, Connecticut. While there, the painter joined the Knocker’s Art Club and exhibited for the first time at their show in 1913. Then, Reiffel came to New York City with an intention to pursue his lithographical activity.

Early in the 1920s, the artist gave up lithography and concentrated on painting. In 1922, he co-founded the art school called ‘Silvermine Guild’.

Three years later, Reiffel with his wife traveled for vacations to San Diego. The couple was so impressed by the region that they decided to live in the city. It was there where Charles Reiffel produced the most part of the landscapes which provided him with an international acclaim.

From then on, the artist widely exhibited his artworks in various art places, including Carnegie Institute, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Diego Fine Arts Gallery, California Art Club, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and elsewhere.

Among the most important shows were the International Exposition of 1922 in Pittsburgh and the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935.

Charles Reiffel was a prolific painter who contributed to the development of art in California. Although the late start of his artistic journey, he created a lot of wonderful landscapes of the region recognized by the art world.

Widely exhibiting, the artist received many awards, including the Buffalo Society of Artists Prize, California Art Club Gold Medal and others.

Nowadays, Reiffel’s artwork can be found in private and various public collections, such as the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego History Center, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, both in Washington D.C., the Art Institute of Chicago. Some canvases are held in San Diego County Municipal Building.

In 2007, a painting by Reiffel titled ‘Autumn Design number 2’ was purchased at Christie’s in Los Angeles for $73,000.


Gallery not found.

Indiana Federation of Artists , United States

North Shore Arts Association , United States

Buffalo Society of Artists , United States

San Diego Art Guild , United States

Cincinnati Art Club , United States

Contemporary Artists of San Diego , United States

Salmagundi Club , United States

Silvermine Artists Guild , United States

Elegantly dressed, Charles Reiffel was generous and had a good sense of humor.

Physical Characteristics:

Charles Reiffel was a tall and attractive man with white hair.

Charles Reiffel: An American Post-impressionist The book proposes a fresh assessment of the artist, firmly reestablishing his place as a national figure in the canon of American painting and shedding light on a splendid page in the history of American post-impressionism and expressionism