My House In Winter
Young was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to a family that lived on a farm near the Cemetery Ridge battlefield. The family was poor but cultured, and the father’s interest in art history, especially a book on John Constable in his father’s library, stimulated the adolescent Charles Young. He spent much time sketching and painting in the environs of Gettysburg. To make money, he also carved walking sticks for tourists and sold them as well as watercolor scenes he did of the Civil War battlefields. He could not afford art school as a young man, but spent much time in Baltimore, looking at the Walters Collection, which is now the Walters Art Museum.
By 1891, Young had enough money to enroll in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and studied with Robert Vonnoh and Thomas Anshutz, two of the Academy’s most prominent teachers. That year, Young also began exhibiting at the annual exhibitions of the Academy, largely seasonal, atmospheric landscapes of Gettysburg, many of them bucolic scenes with cattle suggestive of Barbizon School painting. He was also influenced by animalier Henry Singlewood Bisbing, whose work Young saw at Academy exhibitions. In 1894, Young received the Charles Toppan Prize for the most promising student work at the Academy, and he joined a group of artists who met regularly at the studios of Charles Grafly and Robert Henri.