Charles Hargens, Jr. – 2

Interviewee:  Charles Hargens, Jr.
Date of birth/age at interview:  August 30, 1893/85
Interviewer:  Melouche, Subers (first names and organization unknown)
Interview date:  Oct. 5, 1978
Interview location:  Hargen’s studio
Interview length:  19 minutes
Time span discussed:  His life and career from the Dakotas in 1900 to present day (1978)

Summary: The two interviewers prompt Charles to reflect on his work habits, his ability to paint from memory, and the many commercial assignments he illustrated. The artist’s relationships and meetings with numerous Bucks County artists he knew at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Artists are noted throughout the interview.  This interview is a complement to STHS’s other Hargens interview; it extends our insights with little repetition.


Time markers:
00:00 – side talk of an April 1977 local newspaper interview of Hargens
00:50 – recalls South Dakota upbringing and experiences on his father’s ranch
01:50 – his start as an artist at 8 years old
02:22 – student at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
02:57 – struggle in early days as an illustrator
03:25 – illustrated Western scenes; first sales to Saturday Evening Post while student
04:38 – scholarship for European study; classes at Académie des Beaux-Arts
05:00 – memory of local primitive style painter Henry Pitts
05:47 – stays busy; paints every day
06:35 – painting from models and memory discussed
07:08 – move to Bucks County
08:10 – learned most from Daniel Garber; PAFA’s rotating teaching system, balance for students
10:35 – visits with Edward Redfield, interview taping with Jack Richardson and Redfield
11:03 – his illustrations of Jack Richardson annual gift books (many of these are available in STHS’s archives)
12:15 – maintained contact with fellow students Bill Ney and Abe Rattner
14:06 – Franklin Watkins, a national figure
14:40 – video shoot at his studio
16:00 – worked for several publishers mostly doing Westerns
17:20 – lunch with Mrs. Solowey (wife of Ben Solowey) and 94-year-old Paul Granson, animal illustrator
18:35 – two books being written about him and his work
19:02 – just an ordinary guy doing what he likes to do

Charles Hargens recording 1.

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