Charles Oppenheimer From Craftsman To Artist
Charles Oppenheimer’s paintings are treasured possessions that are passed down the generations. They come on to the market less often than those of many of his contemporaries and the best command high prices that would have astonished the artist.
Born in Manchester, Oppenheimer seemed destined for a career as a craftsman in his family’s mosaic business. Gradually his artistic temperament prevailed and he moved to Kirkcudbright in Galloway for the open air and superb light where he established himself as a Scottish artist of the first rank. He painted the beautiful Galloway countryside and also produced some wonderful canvasses of Italy and Switzerland for over fifty years.
Oppenheimer’s business training never deserted him. He was ‘the antithesis of the bohemian artist’. His working day was clearly defined and his studio was neat and ordered.
Oppenheimer took part in the great causes of his day. He advocated ‘Free Trade’ in the early years of the twentieth century publishing one of the first political cartoons in the Manchester Guardian. He was in favour of women’s suffrage before the Great War. He served with distinction in Army Intelligence in 1917 and 1918 despite being well over call up age. Afterwards, back home, he championed the rights of ex-servicemen and was vociferous in support of Kirkcudbright’s built heritage.
No book has been written about Oppenheimer hitherto. Details are drawn from primary sources and family documents. The text is supported by over 80 illustrations. Many of the paintings depicted have never been seen before in the public domain. Oppenheimer’s place as one of the foremost Scottish artists of his generation will be secured by this monograph.