Search the Collections

Charles William Dahlgreen
Birth Date: 
Birth Place: 
Death Date: 
Death Place: 
Oak Park, Ill.
Painter and printmaker Charles William Dahlgreen is remembered primarily for his landscapes. Born in Chicago in 1864, his parents were immigrants from Germany. Dahlgreen works as a sign painter as a young man, and then studied art in Dusseldorf, Germany for two years beginning in 1886. His work making signs and banners was interrupted in 1898 when he went to the Klondike in Alaska to prospect for gold. He returned to the study of fine art in 1906, first at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art and then at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His instructors included the painters Frederck W. Freer (1849-1908) and John Henry Vanderpoel (1857-1911). He also learned etching. He first exhibited in the Art Institute’s annual exhibition in 1906, and exhibited there frequently for decades. In 1910 Dahlgreen returned to Europe, where he toured England, France, Italy and the Low Countries, and copied Old Masters. He exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1910 and 1912. Back in Chicago, he pursued etchings as well as paintings, Dahlgreen exhibited thirty-one prints at San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, winning an honorable mention. That year he was introduced to the art colony in Brown County, Indiana, where he would spend a significant amount of time. By 1920 he had settlsed in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, but traveled extensively. Dahlgreen visited the Grand Canyon, Yosemite Valley, Taos, N. M., the Ozark Mountains and Florida, all recorded in his art works. He won prizes in exhibitions at the Art Institute in 1919, 1920, 1928, 1934 and 1935, and exhibited at the annual exhibitions of the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. He taught for several years at the school of the Art Institute and was a member of several Chicago arts organizations. Dahlgreen died in 1955 in Oak Park. (TNB 1/2015) Selected bibliography: Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art, p. 146. Madison, Conn.: Sound View Press, 1985. “Dahlgreen, Charles William,” in Saur, Allgemeines Kunstlerlexikon. Vol. 23, p. 426. Munich and Leipzig: K. G. Saur, 1999.