Charles Arthur Fries was born in Hillsboro, Ohio in 1854 and was apprenticed to a lithographer in Cincinnati at the age of 15. While there he studied at the McMicken Art Academy. In 1887 Fries moved to New York where he enjoyed a successful career in illustration before moving to California in 1896, settling in San Diego. In California, Fries concentrated on his atmospheric land and desertscapes. A prolific artist, Fries is remembered as being a major figure in the early San Diego art scene.