Hare studied under the renowned George Bellows and Robert
Henri. Channing was born in New York, New York. He was a portrait
artist of note who was gay and lived in Ogunquit, Maine and in
Palm Beach, Florida.The flamboyant society painter Channing Hare
was often associated with Mountfort Coolidge, with whom he operated
a small antiques business. The two men shared a home on Pine
Hill North,Ogunquit, Maine where among Hare's household treasures
was a not-so-housebroken but very handsome black and white Belgian
OAA members Channing Hare and Mountfort Coolidge, although
respected and successful painters In their own right, were identified
more with the summer society life than it's art colony by many
artists and local residents. Close friends, fellow artists and
even business partners, the two men were synonymous with glamour,
flamboyance, and chic. Despite Hare's seeming preoccupation with
the gathering of interesting people for elaborate cocktail parties,
he was a brilliant society portrait painter who reportedly commanded
between $3,000 and $10,000 for a painting, top prices in those
times. His clients Included such noted Palm Beach and New York
socialites as Phyllis Rhinelander and' Alexander Woolcott, comedienne
Beatrice Lily, actress Florence Nash, and authors Booth Tarkington
and Kenneth Roberts. He died in Palm Beach, Florida.
"Channing Hare, the crown prince of society portrait
artists"- Palm beach Social Diary April 19 1952
"Channing Hare has the ability to express the human mystery
by revealing worlds of personality by unusual angles of vision,
notably by painting figures where the face is turned away from
the audience, the eyes not hidden but rather withheld from view,
while the individuality is found expressed in a gesture of the
shoulder, a curve of the back, an arabesque of the neck.
In the portrait of Mrs. Summer Welles, Channing Hare has called
upon all of his gifts of perception and all of his poetic insight
to produce a work of lasting quality and opulent brilliance.
The artist commands an unusual gift of color, and in the work
shown yesterday, has orchestrated the widest possible range of
silvers with all of the depths and lights of emerald- to exalt
the delicacy of skin pigmentation and the rich glints of an upsweft
But once Channing Hare has found the means of revelation, refusing
to paint only the features of his model and insisting on portraying
a person rather than a physique. By using a reflection in mirrors
of tarnished silver and patined gold, the artist has, to a full
length portrait of genuine quality,added the revelation of a
perceptive study of the reflected figure, head averted, an eloquent
tribute to reticence,a reminder of the riddle of personality,a
revelation of the inscrutable."
- R.H. Palm Beach Daily News Jan 15 1954
"Palm beach is a game one has to learn how to play. When
doing a portrait, the artist receives as much in learning about
people from his subject as he gives to the portrait of that subject.
I've received so much from my subjects." -Palm Beach Daily
News Dec. 18 1970
Channing Hare has been portrayed as an American Realist, partly
because of his teachers Henri and Bellows' lineage as members
of the Ashcan school. Yet some of his portraits contain echoes
of Surrealism, like the "Surrealist Portrait of a Woman"
who holds her disembodied head in her lap. And many of his rich
and famous subjects embody the worlds of fancy and glamour. Like
painter Paul Cadmus, a friend and colleage, he combined elements
of eroticism and social critique to produce a style often called
magic realism. He was certainly a master of his medium, often
completing highly polished and exact portraits in one sitting.
Hare was also part of the Ogunquit gay community. Over the past
100 years, Ogunquit has become a destination for LGBT tourists,
and features numerous LGBT-owned and -operated hotels, restaurants,
bars, theaters, and other businesses. Many of his portraits can
be seen in The Wedding Cake House in Kennebunk.