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 hare.
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 coiffure.
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.