(1858 - 1908)

Expatriate painter Charles Frederick Ulrich documented the ordinary life of immigrants, craftsmen, and other rarely portrayed subjects in late nineteenth-century Europe and America in interior genre scenes, or scenes of everyday life, that emphasize the subtle effects of daylight. Ulrich was a native of New York City and the son of a photographer. He studied at the National Academy of Design in New York, and then spent eight years at the Royal Academy in Munich, Germany, where one of his paintings was awarded a bronze medal in 1879. In Munich, he absorbed the carefully observed detail, attention to light, and focus on ordinary social types typical of both seventeenth-century Dutch and contemporary German genre painting.

Ulrich returned to New York sometime between 1879 and 1882, when he first exhibited at the National Academy of Design; he was elected an associate member the following year. In 1882 he painted the Pennsylvania Dutch; European immigrants arriving in America was the subject of his best-known painting, In the Land of Promise—Castle Garden (1884, Corcoran Gallery of Art), which won the Thomas B. Clarke Prize for figure painting at the academy. He also painted portraits. Valued for its meticulous detail and penetrating characterizations, Ulrich's work was in demand among leading collectors.

In 1885, having established himself with a dealer in London, Ulrich went abroad, visiting Holland before settling in Venice. Thereafter, he appears to have divided his time between Italy and Germany, with a trip to New York in 1891. Details of his later career are sketchy, but Ulrich maintained contact with fellow American expatriate artists, belonged to American artists' organizations, and helped to organize exhibitions of American art held in Munich in 1888 and 1892. Ulrich ceased exhibiting in the annual exhibitions at the National Academy in 1887. Although he contributed three works to the art display at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, he focused mainly on showing his paintings widely in Europe. As a result, his work is now relatively little known in the United States.

Contributed by Anonymous
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