Charles Fremont Conner

Charles Fremont Conner (1857–1905) was an American performer who was one of the most important painters in the Richmond Group in Richmond, Indiana.

Conner is considered as one of the most gifted early Richmond artists. He was self-taught and began his career as an industrial painter for the Hoosier Drill Company where he painted decorations and small landscape scenes on farm machinery.

Along past artists Frank J. Girardin (1856–1945), Micajah Thomas Nordyke (1847–1919), and his brother Albert Clinton Conner (1848–1929), Charles helped found the Rambler’s Sketch Club (c.1881); John Elwood Bundy (1853–1933) soon allied their group. The Rambler’s Sketch Club superior metamorphosed into the Richmond Art Association (founded 1898, but had exhibited art in schools as in front as 1896), which taking into consideration became the Richmond Art Museum.

Conner became a near friend to painter John Elwood Bundy and exhibited his works alongside the Richmond Group artists. He was a plein-air painter and often spent long periods of time living in a tent and painting outdoors. In 1887, he moved to California following his brother Albert, also a painter. He spent the next-door eight years painting the Pacific Coast past he would return to Richmond. It was during this times that his painting improved immensely.

In 1904, Conner made a place for himself in the art world by having his masterpiece, “Wet Night in February” exhibited in the main hall of the St. Louis World’s Fair next door to works by nationally certified artists.

Yet despite his gift and recognition, the most Conner ever acknowledged in his lifetime for a take effect was $150. This work, “The Old Swimming Hole” was purchased in ration by Indianapolis philanthropist, Emil Deitz and the school children of his hometown, Fountain City, Indiana who collected $50 worth of pennies to buy the work. The painting is still owned by the Northeastern Wayne School Corporation.

In 2007, the Richmond Art Museum mounted the largest exhibition of his con ever compiled.

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