Charles Courtney Curran was born 13th February 1861 in Hartford, Kentucky. Following the outbreak of the Civil War, Kentucky was one of the Southern States, the Curran family moved to Ohio where Curran’s father became an inspector of schools and latterly a judge.
Curran studied at the School of Art and Design in Cincinnati before enrolling in 1882 at the National Academy of Design in New York. Curran first exhibited at the Academy in 1883 and was elected an Associate in 1888, the same year he became a member of the Society of American Artists and the “Salamagundi” Club. In 1889, like so many of his compatriots, Curran travelled to Paris to study at the Academie Julien under the Professors, Benjamin Constant (1845-1902), Luc Doucet and Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836-1911). Curran spent three years in Paris, exhibiting at the Salon in 1890, the year following his arrival and receiving an honourable mention. He received a further honourable mention at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900.
Having returned to the United States Curran exhibited widely, he was awarded the Clark Prize in 1893 at the National Academy of Design and the second Hallgarten prize in 1895. He exhibited throughout the United States in Atlanta, Columbia, Chicago, Buffalo, St Louis and Washington; his paintings with their romantic subjects, vivid colours and clarity of light were of widespread appeal.
In 1903 Curran was invited to join the Cragsmoor artist’s colony in the Shawangunk Mountains of upstate New York, founded in the 1870’s by the painter Edward Lamson Henry, NA (1841-1919). In 1910 Curran established his studio in Cragsmoor, his romantic works set in the idyllic landscape of the mountains frequently included his daughter Emily.
In 1911 Curran won the prestigious Altman Prize ($1,000) at the National Academy, recognition of his continuing success. Although retaining his studio in Cragsmoor, Curran lived in New York and in 1929 is recorded as living in the city at 39 West 67th Street. He died in 1942.
His works can be found in museums in: Buffalo; Columbus; Dallas; Fort Worth; Montclair; Philadelphia; Richmond; San Antonio; Toledo and Washington, National Gallery.