Charles Grafly

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Charles Grafly
Picture of Charles Grafly.jpg
Born Charles Allan Grafly, Jr.
(1862-12-03)December 3, 1862
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died May 5, 1929(1929-05-05) (aged 66)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Education Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
Known for Sculpture

Charles Allan Grafly, Jr. (December 3, 1862 - May 5, 1929) was an American sculptor and educator. He taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for 37 years.

Life and career[edit]

Grafly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania of German, Dutch and Quaker heritage and developed an interest in art at an early age. At 17 he was apprenticed to Struthers Stoneyard, at that time one of the largest stone carving ventures in the country. He spent four years carving decorations and figures for Philadelphia City Hall, under the direction of Alexander Milne Calder. In order to improve his skills at carving figures and to improve his understanding of anatomy he began attending art school, eventually studying under Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1888 Grafly moved to Paris where he studied with Henri Chapu and Jean Dampt, and later gained admittance to the École des Beaux Arts, Paris. He received an Honorable Mention in the Paris Salon of 1891 for his "Mauvais Presage," now at the Detroit Institute of Art. Other awards include a Gold Medal at the Paris Exposition in 1900, and medals at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, Atlanta, 1895, and Philadelphia (Gold Medal of Honor, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts), 1899.


Charles Allan Grafly.

In 1892 he became Instructor in Sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, also filling the same chair at the Drexel University, Philadelphia. He was a founding member of the National Sculpture Society and was elected a full member of the National Academy of Design in 1905. In 1913 Grafly was awarded the first Widener Gold Medal for sculpture.

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts has about twenty of Grafly's bronzes in its collection, while the museum at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas possesses over two hundred of his works, mostly plaster casts, from the late Charles and Dorothy Grafly Drummond (the artist's daughter).

Among Grafly's many students were sculptors George Demetrios, Paul Manship, Louis Milione, Eugene Castello, Charles Harley, Nancy Coonsman, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, Dudley Pratt, Walker Hancock, Albin Polasek, Katherine Lane Weems, and Albert Laessle. The latter two served as pall-bearers at Grafly's funeral following his 1929 death, in which he was struck by a hit-and-run driver.

On his deathbed, Grafly asked Walker Hancock to succeed him as Instructor of Sculpture at PAFA.

Selected works[edit]

Hall of Fame for Great Americans[edit]


  1. ^ Admiral Porter from Philadelphia Public Art.
  2. ^ John B. Gest from Philadelphia Public Art.
  3. ^ General Reynolds from Philadelphia Public Art.
  4. ^ James Buchanan Eads
  5. ^ Jonathan Edwards
  6. ^ David Glasgow Farragut
  7. ^ John Paul Jones

Further reading[edit]

  • Drummond, Dorothy Grafly, The Sculptor's Clay: Charles Grafly (1862–1929), Edwin A Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University Wichita, Kansas (1929, reprinted 1996).
  • Moissaye Marans, "Charles Grafly as Teacher," National Sculpture Review, vol. 21 (Fall 1972).
  • Pamela H. Simpson, The Sculpture of Charles Grafly, PhD. dissertation, (University of Delaware, 1974).
  • Anne d'Harnoncourt, "Charles Grafly (1862-1929)," Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976), pp. 439–40.
  • Susan James-Gadzinski and Mary Mullen Cunningham, "Charles Grafly, 1862-1929," American Sculpture in the Museum of American Art of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA, 1997), pp. 118–41.

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.