Charles Harold Davis was born in 1856 in Amesbury Massachusetts. Davis left school at the age of fifteen to become an apprentice carriage maker. After viewing a show of Barbizon paintings Davis decided to pursue art. He studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for three years from 1877 to 1880. Davis then left for Paris to continue honing his ability.
In Paris Davis studied briefly at the Academie Julian under Jules Joseph Lefebvre and Gustave Clarence Rudolphe Boulanger but after a year of study he left the academy which focused on figure painting to pursue painting the landscape outdoors. Davis decided to devote all of his time to landscape painting after painting in Normandy and the forests of Fontainebleau.
Davis moved to the small village of Fleury near Barbizon and began to show at the Salon starting in 1881. In the Paris Salon of 1887 he won an honorable mention. He also exhibited his work at the Pennsylvania Academy, the Society of American Artists and the National Academy of Design. He had his first solo Exhibition in America in 1887 at Reichard and Company New York. In 1889 he won a silver medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris.
In 1890 Davis returned to America permanently and settled in Mystic Connecticut. In 1895 he changed his style to a brighter palette and more vigorous brushwork. He won the Lippincott Prize from the Pennsylvania Academy in 1901 The Altman Prize from the national Academy in 1917 and a Gold Medal at the Pan pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. In 1913 he started the Mystic Art Association.
Paris 1889 American Artists at the universal exposition
I do not think that a piece of nature in a frame though wonderfully well done is very desirable as a picture effect; eloquent arrangement, I may say is for me the first thing to strive for.