Friday, November 20, 2015

Camouflage Artist | Charles Hafner

Charles Hafner, Peter Pan (1928)
Above Sculpture by Charles Hafner of literary character Peter Pan, originally made in 1928 for a fountain in the lobby of the Paramount Theatre in Times Square in New York. In 1975, it was given to the City of New York, and installed in an outdoor garden site in Carl Schurz Park. In 1999, it was vandalized and stolen, then soon after found to have been dumped into the East River. It was restored and reinstalled.


The artist Charles Andrew Hafner was born in Omaha NE on October 28, 1888. He studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Students League in NY, and the Beaux Arts Institute of Design in Paris. As a student he worked as an assistant to Daniel Chester French, and may also have been influenced by James Earle Fraser and Solon Borglum (whose brother Gutzon Borglum created the US presidents' busts at Mount Rushmore).

In 1918, Hafner served as a ship camouflage artist in the Third Naval District in New York, in the course of which he probably worked with muralist William Andrew Mackay. At the end of the war, the following social note appeared in Art News

Charles Haffner, the sculptor who was working in the Camouflage Department for the Government, has returned to New York and has taken a studio in the Holbein [Studios at 154 West 55th Street in Manhattan] ] where he is modeling portraits and figure compositions.

According to Who Was Who in America, Hafner was a founding member of the American Veterans Society of Artists, a sculpture instructor, and was best-known for his portrait busts of Thomas Edison, Daniel Carter Beard, Maude Adams and Richard Strauss. He died In New York on July 29, 1960.