Remembering Charles Reid

Charles Reid — a nationally celebrated watercolor painter, and a native Westporter who returned here to create art and raise a family — died last week, at his Greens Farms home. He was 81.

Charles Reid

For almost 60 years, Reid worked as a fine artist, illustrator, author and teacher. His art hangs in permanent collections around the country. He designed a US postage stamp, and his work appeared in American Heritage, Harper’s, Sports Afield, Reader’s Digest Books and the LL Bean catalog.

He also wrote 11 books on painting, and was on the faculty of Famous Artists School.

Reid’s daughter, Sarah Worth Reid, recalls his Westport life:

My dad was born in 1937 in upstate New York. But his parents had lived here since 1935, and came back when he was a baby.

He lived near what is now the Westport Historical Society until he was 10. His parents moved back to upstate New York to care for ailing parents, then returned to Westport when my father was in college.

My parents bought their own house in Westport in 1962. It is one of the oldest houses here — built in 1727.

My father rented studio space with other great artists like Chip Chadbourn, Bob Baxter, Burt Dodson, Ann Toulmin-Rothe and Gene Holbrook at the factory on Richmondville Avenue. They called it Studio 2. They paid models, and painted oils on large canvases.

“Winter in Westport,” Charles Reid.

They cooked lunch once a week, and drank wine and beer with the meal on that day. They were all hard working, and made their livings as artists full time.

Sterling Hayden came to the studio, and my father painted him.

My father had 2 galleries in NYC, and the openings were always memorable. One time we met a homeless cowboy with a dog. He said we could take the dog home. My parents let us do it. We named him Roko after the gallery.

My father was an Eagle Scout and a scout leader, for my brother who was a Cub Scout for a few years. My father went with me on the 6th grade camping trip to Camp Mahackeno.

We kept a sailboat at Compo for several years before moving it to Southport.

My father’s mother loved Chez Pierre, and went there from 1935 on (whenever it opened). My father was a regular at Klein’s, Max’s Art Supply and the downtown YMCA for years. He loved to swim. He took us there for swim lessons.

There are so many memories in this town.

Reid is survived by his wife Judith; daughter Sarah Worth Reid and son-in-law Rob Pristash; son Peter Van Kirk Reid, daughter-in-law Dara Reid and granddaughter Willow Rain Reid; sister-in-law Betsey Mast Reid, nephew David Van Kirk Reid and niece Suzannah Reid. He was predeceased by his cat Brutus, who died in 2005.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Front Range Equine Rescue, PO Box 8807, Pueblo, CO 81008; Ever After Mustang Rescue, 463 West Street, Biddeford, ME 04005, or Wildlife in Crisis, PO Box 1246, Weston, CT 06883.

“LL Bean boots,” Charles Reid.

5 responses to “Remembering Charles Reid

  1. I have always wondered: what was it about Westport — and Weston — that attracted so many of those magnificently-talented artists and illustrators. My family and I had lived in Weston since early 1943. In Fourth grade I became friends with Glenn Smith. His father, Ralph Crosby Smith, was an illustrator for many of the “outdoor” magazines, like Field and Stream. Ralph and his wife, Viretta, had moved to Weston from New Jersey. They bought and restored an old hunting shack at what was then just beyond the end of Lord’s Highway. There were times when Glenn’s father kitted us in out in outdoor lumberjacks, then stand out in the wooded clearing, outside the window beside his easel. We were to pretend to carry rifles as we “stalked” imaginary “wildlife” in the woods next to the house. Ralph Crosby Smith Smith knew most of the illustrators, but was never part of the “Westport Art Scene.”

  2. A great artist and a “real man” in the best sense of the word!

  3. Cheryl Beatus


  4. This is a major loss for Westport and the art world. Charlie Reid was the real deal. Having had the privilege of being a guest in Charles and Judy’s historic Greens Farms residence a few times, I was always struck by Charlie’s unassuming manner. He was a gracious gentleman who just happened to possess world-class talent. My deepest sympathy to Judy, Sarah, Peter and the other members of the extended Reid family.

  5. Juliana Sloane Fulbright

    Same here, condolences to the family, I was at some of the Studio ll drawing classes and I’m hoping Bob Baxter is still around, I own one of Anne Toulman Roth’s paintings with Brooklyn in it. I was good friends with Alan Sterling for many years . I pass Charlies house and studio often and wondered how he was doing . He had a great talent! Sorry to hear he’s gone. I hope some of Studio II is still alive.

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