biography of Charles H. WALTHER (1879-1937)

Birth place: Baltimore, MD

Addresses: Baltimore/Middletown, MD

Profession: Painter, teacher

Studied: Maryland Inst.; Académie Julian, Paris with J.P. Laurens, 1906; Blanche, L. Simon & Cottet in Paris.

Exhibited: Peabody Inst. Gal., Baltimore, 1914; Montross Gal., 1915; S. Indp. A., 1922-30; Wash. County Mus. FA, Hagerstown, MD, 1934 (solo), 1999 (retrospecive); Baltimore Charcoal Club, 1936; also in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington DC.

Member: Soc. of Indep. Artists, NYC (a founder); Baltimore Soc. of Indep. Artists (first pres., 1929); Charcoal Club, Baltimore; Baltimore Mus. A;

Work: Phillips Coll.; Baltimore Mus. A.; Wash. County Mus. FA, Hagerstown, MD; Cone Coll., Balt.; H.S., Balt. Stained glass, Zion Church amd Church Home Infirmary, Baltimore

Comments: Abstract painter and leader of avant-garde artists in Baltimore in the early 20th century. Walther studied in Paris in 1906-08, and after returning to Baltimore collaborated with J. Wilmer Gettier in designing stained glass for several Baltimore churches. Walther became friendly with Charles Sheeler, Maurice Prendergast, and Walter Pach while visiting NYC for the Armory Show in 1913, and although they urged him to move to NYC and asked him to join them in the founding of the Soc. of Indep. Artists, he chose to return to and remain in Baltimore. By 1914, he had begun work on a series of abstractions or improvisations" based on the work of the Italian Futurists, and he soon exhibited the works in Baltimore and NYC. Walther was a champion of modernism in Baltimore, experimenting with new styles and urging his students at the Md. Inst. to do so as well. This resulted in his dismissal from the school in 1929, but Walther continued to teach privately, and also held summer sketching sessions at his summer home in Middleton, MD. The popular summer school and its students came to be informally known as the Snallygaster School. In 1938, Walther died in a fatal car accident driving from Middletown. Teaching: Maryland Inst., 1900-06, 1908-29.

Sources: WW38; exh. pamphlet, Charles H. Walther: Maryland Modernist and the Snallygaster School (Hagerstown, MD: Wash. County Mus. of FA, 1999) "