Charles Alton Pfahl III was a groundbreaking American Realist painter whose career spanned more than five decades. Born in Akron, Ohio in 1946, he began his studies in 1958 at age 12, with the Ohio colorist Jack Richard, whose own work was greatly influenced by the New York figural painter Robert Brackman. While still in his early teens, Charles spent summers in Connecticut attending Brackman’s classes where he learned to see and appreciate color, dealing with it in an impressionistic manner.
In 1969, he moved to New York, where he met well-known New York Realist painter John Koch. John and Dora Koch influenced not only his work but also the way in which he lived his life. John Koch became Charles’ friend and mentor and was his inspiration for mastering the use of light as well as color in his work. Those early experiences set in motion a journey that saw long term stays in Italy, Bali, Ireland, New York, Los Angeles, and finally New Mexico. Throughout his life, Charles stayed true to himself and painted images that evoked strong emotional responses.
In the artist’s own words, “I paint from life, but the reality that I see is unique to me. I do not place the canvas next to my subject to compare the two. My choice of color may seem more intense - overall tone may appear darker - the actual drawing may differ. It is not arbitrary - it is what I see.”