While Charles Reiffel (1862–1942) is usually considered today as a leader of the California plein-air school of painting, this exhibition celebrates his legacy as a preeminent practitioner of Post-Impressionism in America. During his lifetime, Reiffel’s work was exhibited throughout the country and won the accolades of critics, who referred to him as the “American Van Gogh”. Others judged Reiffel’s work “too modern,” favoring his more conservative contemporaries.
Charles Reiffel: An American Post-Impressionist will propose a fresh assessment of the artist, firmly establish his place in the national canon, and shed light on this splendid page in the history of American Post-Impressionism. The exhibition will include over 80 works, primarily paintings, but also works on paper, including the crayon sketches in which Reiffel pioneered his own personal technique. This show will span the entirety of Reiffel’s career, from his early travel studies to his latest San Diego subjects, and will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the artist’s birth. Charles Reiffel: An American Post-Impressionist, is organized by The San Diego Museum of Art and the San Diego History Center and will be presented concurrently at both venues.