Charles Reiffel

born Indianapolis, IN 1862-died San Diego, CA 1942
Media - portrait_image_113417.jpg - 90251
Courtesy San Diego Museum of Art.
Also known as
  • Charles P. Reiffel
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
San Diego, California, United States
  • American

Charles Reiffel was a strikingly handsome man who wore his white hair long in order to cover a disfigured ear. His father had come from Bavaria to the United States in the 1840s and his mother was from an old Virginia family. He started his career as a lithographer and did not begin painting until 1912. Reiffel settled in Silvermine, Connecticut, where he was part of an informal group of artists called the Knocker’s Club, whose members met every Sunday morning to criticize each other’s work. In 1925, Reiffel and his wife planned a vacation through New Mexico and Nevada, but bad weather forced a detour to San Diego. They settled there permanently, and Reiffel became a leader in San Diego’s cultural scene.

Related Books

1934: A New Deal for Artists
During the Great Depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt promised a “new deal for the American people,” initiating government programs to foster economic recovery. Roosevelt’s pledge to help “the forgotten man” also embraced America’s artists. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) enlisted artists to capture “the American Scene” in works of art that would embellish public buildings across the country. Although it lasted less than one year, from December 1933 to June 1934, the PWAP provided employment for thousands of artists, giving them an important role in the country’s recovery. Their legacy, captured in more than fifteen thousand artworks, helped “the American Scene” become America seen.