Charles Woodbury*

Charles Herbert Woodbury, born in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1864, is recognized as the founder of Ogunquit’s first art colony. Finding an early passion for art, in 1882 he had his first major exhibition at the Boston Art Club, one of the youngest artists at that time to achieve such recognition. He meanwhile enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, relying on sales of his paintings and on giving art lessons to support himself and his parents. Upon graduating from MIT with honors in mechanical engineering in 1886, he began teaching art classes in Boston and devoting himself to painting, finding great success painting up the New England coast. Woodbury married Marcia Oakes, the daughter of a South Berwick, Maine judge and a student in one of his early classes, in 1890. They settled in Ogunquit in 1896, purchasing five acres of land off Shore Road and building the town’s first art studio in 1898. That summer, Woodbury offered his art class, a six-week course in painting and drawing from nature in oil, watercolor, and pencil. Over the years that followed, he traveled to several American cities to conduct art classes and judge exhibitions. This activity and Woodbury’s books made him well known to art students and professionals across the country.

Charles H. Woodbury, The Cliff, 1929, Oil. From the Permanent Collection of the Ogunquit Museum of American Art (OMAA)

Charles H. Woodbury, The Cliff, 1929, Oil. From the Permanent Collection of the Ogunquit Museum of American Art (OMAA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*From A Century of Color: 1886-1986 by Louise Tragard, Patricia E. Hart, and W. L. Copithorne. The book, which offers more information about Charles Woodbury, the Ogunquit art colonies, and the OMAA, is available for sale in the OMAA gift shop.