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Farr Collections Archive

Charles Griffin Farr was born in 1908 in Birmingham, Alabama.  He studied in New York City and at the Academie Americaine in Paris, France. He died in San Francisco in 1997.

Mr. Farr gifted many paintings and drawings to the University Collection, some of which are currently on display at University Center, representing the full spectrum of his artistic career.

As a young artist in the late 1930s, Charles Griffin Farr took part in the Works Progress Administration programs (WPA) and trained as a restorer of ancient pottery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Farr took a special interest in the Met’s American painting tradition.  Through his study of American artists like Peale, Kensett, and Eakins, Farr became convinced of a unifying character more theoretical than stylistic of an American tradition of realism. He moved to San Francisco after WWII and lived and worked on Potrero Hill.

Charles Griffin Farr was a painter in the American Realist tradition whose oeuvre has not been affected by fad or current, but through a stoic personal sojourn has created an individual painting style which assimilated his appreciation of the past with a sophisticated understanding of modernist theory and aesthetic.  His influences range from classical Renaissance through 17th century Dutch painting to contemporary issues and ideas of visual perception.  His perception is predicated in careful observation, precise representation and highly-structured compositions, the result of which are masterful, magical, realist paintings endowing the artist’s subjects with a mysterious, supernatural quality that seems to suspend time and space.

Charles Griffin Farr was represented by the Hackett Freedman Gallery in San Francisco until it closed in 2009.                             

Charles Griffin Farr Exhibitions at the Sesnon Gallery and Sesnon Underground

Virtual exhibition of selected Farr works in Sesnon Gallery Model created by Geopogo 
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2021 Beheld, a Virtual Exhibition
Curated by Edie Trautwein
May 7–June 30, 2021

Works by Charles Griffin Farr
Curated by Ava Kristy
Feb 19–29, 2020

CUIP Davidra Jackson
project: collection management with the Charles Griffin Farr Catalogit database


Underground Figurative Show
Curated works by Natalie Ortiz in conversation with UC Santa Cruz student exhibition
Unique works of ink on paper, charcoal, and graphite figures from 1930s – 1980s.
April 5–21, 2017

Charles Griffin Farr Screening and Drawing Room

Curated by Carrie Hoffman

Charles Griffin Farr: Formal Complexity
curated by Shelby Graham and UCSC students
September 19 - October 19, 2013 

Suspended in Time: Charles Griffin Farr

Reimagining American Realism: Works by Charles Griffin Farr

Charles Griffin Farr Summer 2009

Charles Griffin Farr Summer 2008

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