Charles Fries was born in Hillsboro, OH on August 14, 1854. At age 15 Fries was apprenticed at Gibson's Lithography in Cincinnati and, while there, attended the MacMicken Art Academy and studied portraiture in the studio of Charles Webber. Working from a studio in Cincinnati, he traveled and sketched in the Southwest; his lithographs appeared in Harper's, Leslie's, and Century Magazines. After marrying in 1887, he moved his studio to NYC where he was popular as an illustrator and portraitist while living on a farm in Vermont. In 1896 the Fries family headed west and, upon arriving in southern California, temporarily lived in the ruins of the unrestored mission at San Juan Capistrano. Later that year, he and his family settled in San Diego where he remained. Sporting a Van Dyke beard and flowing black bow tie, he was often seen riding about San Diego on his bicycle with painting gear in its basket. Upon his death in San Diego on December 15, 1940, Fries had recorded in his journal 1700 oil paintings produced in California. He achieved great success and fame as both lithographer and painter of atmospheric landscapes.
Source: Edan Hughes, "Artists in California 1786-1940"
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