Charles Alfred Meurer American, 1865-1955


Born in Germany to American parents, Charles Meurer is often recognized as the last great trompe l'oeil painter. Raised in Clarksville, Tennessee, as a young artist he was commissioned by Adolph Ochs, the editor of the Chattanooga Times newspaper, to paint a still life symbolizing editorial wisdom. This theme, called editorial-sanctum still life, which emphasized authority, industry, and respectability, through the depiction of symbolic objects, became a continuing theme throughout his career and influenced the creation of works of social commentary.


The young artist began his formal art training under Frank Duveneck at the Cincinnati Art Academy in 1885. The following year, Meurer was converted to trompe l'oeil painting after seeing a Michael Harnett painting executed in this style at the Cincinnati Industrial Exposition of 1886. He then expanded his art studies by traveling to Paris and Lyon, France, where Meurer studied with acclaimed artists J.P. Laurens, Bouguereau, and Doucet, at L'Academie Julian and École des Beaux-Arts.


Cincinnati Arts Club

Valley of Moon Art Club

St. Augustin Municipal Art League


Art Institute of Chicago, 1898, 1902

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Chicago Society of Fine Arts

Chicago Museum

Chicago World's Fair, 1893 (Honorable Mention)

Museums and Public Collections

Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland

Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio

Thyssen-Bonemisza Collection, Paseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

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