Charles Grafly

1862 - 1929

Charles Grafly knew early that he wanted to sculpt.  He apprenticed himself to a stonemason when he was 16, studied modeling with Thomas Eakins and Thomas Anshutz at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and studied further in Paris.  A gifted teacher as well as sculptor, Grafly's students included Walker Hancock, George Demetrios and Paul Manship.

In these days of rush and turmoil when even artists are infected with the mad desire to dash off things in a hurry, it is consoling to meet a man so devoted to his art that he is willing to labor quietly and conscientiously, to whom time is nothing compared to the perfection of his work.

—Anna Seaton-Schmidt, "Charles Grafly in His Summer Home," The American Magazine of Art, December 1918


Too little known for his work as a monumental sculptor, Grafly has always been ranked first among the portraitists of his day.  He was preeminent in his character studies of men, and especially of those who were colleagues and friends.  He has left behind a noble gallery including busts of such notable artists as Paul Bartlett, Frank Duveneck, Joseph De Camp, George Harding, Childe Hassam, William M. Paxton, ... and Thomas Anshultz.

—Dorothy Grafly (Grafly's daughter), "Charles Grafly," Exhibition of Sculpture by Charles Grafly, Temple University Art Galleries, 1936


Charles Grafly, with whom Mr. Hancock came to study, was the greatest American sculptor and outstanding teacher of portrait sculpture in America.  Winters he was Instructor in Sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia;  summers his home and studio were the house at the corner of Woodbury Street.  Lester Poland of Lanesville was caretaker for many years.  Not only Walker Hancock, but George Demetrios... were pupils of his, and Mr. Hancock says that not too much credit can be given him for his part in attracting young and talented people to Lanesville-Folly.

—Morris R. Robinson, Some Artists Who Called 'Squam, Lanesville and the Folly "Home," 1973

Selected works by Charles Grafly

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