CHARLES PAUL GRUPPE
marine painter Charles Paul Gruppe was born in Picton, Canada, September
3, 1860. Largely
Gruppe did study in Holland and a good portion of his work
consists of Holland inspired
He should not be confused with his son, artist Emile Gruppe, who
painted many well-known
New England scenes.
When Charles was
ten, he moved with his family to Rochester, New York, after the death of
in painting from an early age, he spent much of his time sketching and creating
watercolors and oils.
To help support his mother and sisters, he worked
in a sign painting shop,
soon mastering the craft.
Eventually, at age
twenty-one, he had earned enough money to travel steerage to Europe,
through France, Germany, and Holland, searching for a place to settle
and practice his art.
He was taken with Holland, perhaps attracted to its fishing villages
with their picturesque boats
and quaint houses,
and decided to stay. He built a home and studio in
the little fishing
village of Katwyk Ann Zee
and painted much of his European work in the
vicinity of that town.
While in Holland,
his skill at subtle coloration and careful draftsmanship became so
identified with the Dutch School
of painting that he was elected to the exclusive Pulchre Studio in the
in the Hague, something
highly unique for an American
Members of the Dutch Royal Family
collected his work,
included portraits of the Dutch people as well as genre, marine, and
his paintings are of the Zuider Zee and of Sheveningen, where he had a vacation villa.
Altogether, Gruppe spent over twenty years in Holland, becoming a
beingpatronized by the royalty of Europe.
His work is represented in
many museums in America
Gruppe returned to
America, becoming both a painter and dealer/broker in the art of Dutch painters,
popularizing Dutch art among American collectors and art connoisseurs.
His son, Emile, who was to
also become a great painter,
was born at the family residence in
Rochester in 1896.
thereafter the Gruppes moved back to Katwyk Ann/Zee, Holland, but in
1909, the family returned to
United States as the clouds of W.W.I gathered.
ancestry was originally the Hamburg area of Germany, they at this time
accent to e of the
Gruppe name to make it appear less German.
The elder Gruppe
found an apartment/studio at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Emile also wanted to paint,
and, in addition to teaching him himself, Charles sent him to the best
Bridgeman (figures/drawing), Carlson ( landscapes / values) and
Hawthorne (a colorist).
Charles had been
an essentially self-taught artist but his son would have the best
In 1925, after
seeing an exhibition in New York that featured the beautiful winter
harbor scenes of Gloucester by
Frederick Mulhaupt, the Gruppe father and son team headed to Cape Ann,
to see for
themselves. "Mulhaupt got the smell o
Gloucester on canvas", Emile had
said. Father and son were already
fond of seacoasts and seaports and
both Gruppes soon fell in love with
continued to paint in the Cape Ann area for the rest of their lives.
elder Charles P. Gruppe died in
Rockport, Massachusetts, on September 30, 1940 at his studio. He was 80
(a stay of 15 years).
During those years Charles spent his summers in Rockport and the
remainder of the year at his
New York studio.
The younger Gruppe (Emile) died in 1978 (a stay of 53
years). He was 78.
1929, the two Gruppes shared a studio on Bearskin Neck in Rockport. Then
Emile decided make his
and moved to nearby Gloucester where he purchased an old
school house on Rocky
Despite his stern
look, Charles Gruppe was said to have a sunny and optimistic
He had little formal
education and no visible advantages in his early youth.
All he did have
was a strong love of
painting which seemed inborn to him, as it was to generations of his
He painted thousands
of paintings in his life that are in the finest collections of Europe
All four of his
children were exposed to art and artists at tender ages, and eventually
in the arts: sculptor, Karl, was a member of the National
Academy; musician, Paulo,
is a cellist.
.Virginia was a watercolorist/art dealer who painted
Rockport and Gloucester scenes
and owned a gallery selling Gruppe and other paintings in Rochester, NY, where she lived
until her death in the 1960s.
Charles son, Emile, was a highly regarded
Robert C. Gruppe is also an artist and operates a studio in Rocky Neck
A remarkable family
He was honored
with numerous awards and medals, including gold medals at Paris and
and two silver medals
(watercolor and oil) at the World's Fair in St. Louis in 1903.
P. Gruppe was also a member
of the Salmagundi Club in New York.