Charles W. Bartlett

Charles W. Bartlett (Bridgport, England / 1860- ) first trained as a chemist but took up art full-time in 1883 and studied at the Royal Academy in London and the Julian Academy in Paris.

He became well known in Holland and Brittany for his watercolors and etchings. The Orient was his second source of inspiration, and many of his subjects were drawn from India and China. During a residence in Japan early in this century he became intrigued with woodblock printing techniques, and a large number of color prints, executed under his direction, are now his most recognizable work. When Charles Bartlett arrived in Hawaii in February 1917, he met with such an enthusiastic welcome, particularly from Anna (Mrs. Charles M.) Cooke, that he postponed his departure several times and finally determined to remain in Hawaii.

From the earliest years of his career, Bartlett was also a portrait painter of note, using two different styles during his years in Hawaii. Finely executed watercolors of an ethereal nature, reminiscent of early Song-dynasty paintings, were done as intimate portraits. He reserved his impressionistic technique for large canvases, the finest of which are the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Wilcox, at Grove Farm Homestead on Kauai, and of his friend and patron Mrs. Cooke, in the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

Before his arrival in Hawaii, Bartlett had exhibited at the Royal Academy and at the Salon des Beaux-Arts, Paris. He was a frequent exhibitor at the Academy of Arts and had a one-person show there in June 1939. A posthumous retrospective was held at the academy in 1946. Bartlett had several exhibitions of his popular prints in London and New York. He died in Honolulu on April 16, 1940.

The above information and photos are taken from Encounters with Paradise by David W. Forbes, courtesy Honolulu Academy of Arts.