Charles A.R. Dunn, 83. a Washington artist and a retired art director of the Nation's Business magazine, died of congestive heart failure Tuesday at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Dunn began as a sports cartoonist for the old Washington Times.

In 1920, he joined the staff of Nation's Business, where he became art director before he retired in 1959. He continued to do free-lance work for the magazine until 1974.

He became known for his political caricatures in oil and held an exhibition at the Arts Club of Washington.

He later exhibited 168 caricatures of prominent figures at Burning Tree Country Club. Among these were portraits of Presidents Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had posed for them.

Mr. Dunn had paintings exhibited in a number of galleries, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Phillips Gallery here, the National Academy of Design in New York, and the Chicago Art Institute.

He also had contributed to a number of magazines, including Life, Holiday, and the old Saturday Evening Post.

Mr. Dunn was born in Washington, and was a 1914 graduate of Central High School. He studied at the Corcoran school of Art, the National School of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Art.

He served in the Army during World War I.

He was a member of the Society of Washington Artists, the Landscape Club of Washington, the Arts Club of Washington, and Kenwood Country Club.

Mr. Dunn was a member of Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church in Washington.

He is survived by his wife, Anita B., of the home in Bethesda; a son, John G., of Sandy Hook, Conn.; a daughter, Janice Rosenberg, of Bethesda; a sister, Hasseltine Pigott, of Washington, and six grandchildren.