Born in Indianapolis, IN on April 9, 1862, Charles Reiffel was a self-taught artist. He began his career in Cincinnati at Stowbridge Lithography Company and continued that business in New York City and England in 1891. While in Europe he studied briefly with Carl Marr at the Munich Academy.
After six years in Europe, he returned to Buffalo, NY at the turn of the century. It was during this time that his modern approach to painting began to attract favorable notices. In 1912 he bought a home in Silvermine, CT and then commuted to NYC to tend to his lithography business. About 1921 Reiffel gave up lithography to devote full time to easel painting.
In 1925 he and his wife visited San Diego and were so enchanted with the area they opted to remain. His landscapes of California brought him national acclaim before his death in San Diego on March 14, 1942.