Baltimore-born Charles Volkmar captures the tranquility of nature with Landscape

By Daniel Fulco, Ph.D., Agnita M. Stine Schreiber Curator
To mark the special exhibition Treasures of State: Maryland’s Art Collection (on view through Oct. 22), we hope that you enjoy these landscapes. If you visit the museum, these works are included in the exhibition.


Charles Volkmar (American, 1841–1914)
Landscape (Upper Gunpowder, Balto. Co.), c. 1858–65
Oil on canvas
14″h x 24″w
Collection of Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
Museum purchase, A1258,63.0008

In Landscape, Charles Volkmar depicted a scene along the Upper Gunpowder River in northern Baltimore County. Employing loose brushwork and atmospheric perspective, Volkmar’s style reflects the influence of study in France, under Henri Harpignies (1819–1916), a member of the Barbizon School, a group of artists inspired by their own regional landscape who painted in a looser, more subjective way. In the painting owned by the museum, Volkmar focused on daily life (note the fisherman in the foreground and houses in the distance), in his other landscape in the state’s collection, he emphasized the purity and seclusion of the American wilderness with a lone stag, standing near a stream.

Volkmar was born in Baltimore into a family of formally trained artists. He received his early art instruction at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Baltimore, and furthered his art studies in 1881 in Paris, where he remained for about 15 years. There, he trained under sculptor Antoine–Louis Barye (1839–82) and painter Harpignies, and learned ceramic painting at the Haviland factory. While Volkmar is best known today as a ceramist, at the outset of his career, he was an aspiring landscape painter. Later, he relocated to Montigney-sur-Loring, France, to work with Barbizon artists who painted pottery using an underglaze slip technique, including Harpignies, Jean-Charles Cazin (1841–1901), Constant Troyon (1810–65), and Eugène Carrière (1849–1906).

Volkmar 2

Charles Volkmar
Landscape, 19th century
Oil on canvas
21 ¾ “h x 28 ½ “w
Collection of the Maryland State Archives, Peabody Art Collection,
MSA SC 4680–10–0100


his WeekendArt is sponsored by Ms. Terry Wills & Ms. Christine Parfitt