History & Tourism

Richland Roots: Mansfield-Born Painter Charles Henry Harmon

25 May , 2022  

By 1812Blockhouse

Around the turn of the last century, a prolific landscape painter gained a foothold in capturing the scenes of a changing western landscape.

That said, Charles Henry Harmon’s life began hundreds of miles to the east, right here in Richland County.

Born in Mansfield in 1859, he was the son of lawyer George B. and Clara Harmon. By the mid 1870s the family had relocated from Ohio to the sunnier confines of San Jose, California. 

Charles Henry Harmon

Young Charles soon became an apprentice to a local painter, and by the 1880 census he was recorded as a “portrait painter.” With no formal training, he was self taught from visiting galleries in San Francisco. For the next 20 years he concentrated on painting the scenes in coastal Califorina and the Sierra Mountains, obtaining a reputation as a fine landscape artist.

Charles’ big move came about 1905 when contracts for paintings to be used in advertising for railroad companies took him to Denver. 

Referred to by many as one of California’s foremost late 19th century artists, today Harmon landscapes can be found in public and private collections around the west, including the California State Library. Auction prices for his works range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Charles Harmon died in 1936 in California.

The above painting is entitled “The Home of the Rainbows.” For images of other Harmon works, click here.

Sources: Annex Gallery Fine Prints; Christie’s; FInd-A-Grave; Photos: Public Domain

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