Oil on canvas, 19.5 x 18 inches/Signed lower right
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Charles E. Waltensperger was born in Detroit, Michigan. From his childhood, Waltensperger loved to draw and first studied art at the Julius Melchers School. It was when William E. Quinby, publisher of the Detroit Free Press, where Waltensperger worked as an elevator operator, noticed his sketches of his elevator passengers, including Quinby himself, who provided his tuition at the school of Detroit Museum of Art that he received his most valuable art training. During the early 1890s (circa 1893), Waltensperger exhibited his work at the Detroit Institute of Arts and was awarded a James E. Scripps scholarship that enabled him to travel to Paris, France, where he studied for two years at the Académie Julian with Benjamin Constant and Jean Paul Laurens and at the Académie des Beaux Arts under Jean-Léon Gérôme. When he returned to the United States, his benefactor hired him as an illustrator for the Detroit Free Press. Waltensperger would return to Europe many times, and eventually he settled in the artists’ colony at Laaren, Holland and alternated his time between there and Detroit, until the dawn of the First World War in 1915. He remained in Detroit and opened a studio on Broadway where he painted his genre scenes and landscapes, although his preference was at the time was for genre. Waltensperger also was the illustrator for books written by M. Quad (pseudonym of humorist Charles Bertrand Lewis). He also began spending his summers on the New England coast where he abandoned genre painting for landscapes executed in the Impressionist manner with a higher-keyed palette than his Dutch works. Waltensperger was a member of the Hopkin Club and its successor, the Scarab Club. He exhibited at the Detroit Museum of Art, Scarab Club, before establishing Scarab club, Crowley-Milners, a major Detroit department store and the Seventh Floor Picture Studios.