Charles Henri Pellegrini was born in Chambery, the capital city of Condado de Saboya, on July 28, 1800. He studies at Collège de Chambery and towards 1819, he finds himself attending Universidad de Turín. He is then forced to run off to France in the middle of the conflict between the Piamonteses and Austrians. In 1821, he is admitted to the Escuela Politécnica de París, where he gets his engineering degree, in 1825.
He arrives in Buenos Aires towards the end of 1828, contracted by Bernardino Rivadavia to work at the local port, but the project does not get under way. In order to survive financially, Pellegrini starts painting portraits of celebrities in the Porteño social scene. His work is well accepted. He finds himself attracted to the urban landscape, the fashion of Buenos Aires, the show rooms and the work at slaughterhouses, scenes which start to appear in his paintings and lithographs. His watercolors representing La Boca del Riachuelo painted between 1930 and 1933 are found today at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Towards the 1850’s, he is appointed member of the City Council, and in 1855 he becomes part of the Public Education Council. Together with Mitre, Vélez Sársfield, Alsina, Mármol, Duteil and Tejedor, he founded the Instituto Histórico y Geográfico del Río de la Plata (Historical and Geographical Institute of the River Plate). In 1857, he uses his engineering skills to build the old Teatro Colón.
Pellegrini dies in Buenos Aires, on October 12, 1875.
In 1900, his son Ernesto holds an exhibit with his father’s work at the Salones de Ateneo showroom. In 1919 the Sociedad de Acuarelistas, Pastelistas y Grabadores also organize an exhibit in his honor.
His works can be found at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes; the Museo Histórico Nacional; the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes "Rosa Galisteo de Rodríguez" in Santa Fe; the Museo Municipal de Arte Hispanoamericano "Isaac Fernández Blanco” and the Museo Mitre, both in Buenos Aires and the Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes “Juan B. Castagnino” in Rosario.