Distinguished Artist Series

 

Franz A. Bischoff

1864-1929

by Jean Stern

 

 

One of these popular Bischoff colors was Ashes of Roses. In 1900, Bischoff came to California on a visit. He stopped in Los Angeles and was very much impressed by the climate and the scenery. In 1906, Bischoff and his family moved to San Francisco, and soon thereafter, to Los Angeles. Bischoff's arrival in Los Angeles in 1906 marks the beginning of his "second career" as a landscape painter. He had always produced beautiful paintings of flowers, but only as preliminary studies for his ceramics. He now began to paint easel works for their own sake.

It is interesting to ponder Bischoff's relatively sudden turn to easel painting, particularly at a time when his popularity as a ceramic painter and the popularity of the medium itself was at its highest. Perhaps it was dissatisfaction with china decorating in general--the limits imposed by size and choice of subject matter-or perhaps it was his recent exposure to the California landscape, with its grandeur, color and freshness.

Los Angeles in 1906 had a small but thriving art colony, and Bischoff's arrival late in the year drew notice in the local press. He immediately set up a temporary studio in the Blanchard Studio Building at 232 South Hill Street. The Blanchard Building offered studio space for rent and it was used by many of the leading artists in Southern California. At the same time, Bischoff made plans for a permanent home and studio in Lincoln Park, on the Arroyo Seco in South Pasadena. The Arroyo Seco was home to many of the local artists and intellectuals of the day. Bischoff was well received in those circles and he became friends with many of the leaders of cultural society.

In February 1908, Bischoff's new home and studio at 320 Pasadena Avenue was completed and opened to the public. From the published contemporary descriptions of the studio, it is apparent that Bischoff had amassed ample financial means through his success as a china decorator, teacher, and manufacturer of art products. The building was poured of solid concrete and was one-and-a half stories high. It was designed in the Renaissance style, with an imposing entry through massive oak doors with stained glass panels. The doorway was set beneath a classical pedimented portico, supported by two columns. The interior was divided between a large gallery, a studio and a complete ceramic workshop in the basement.

Top to bottom: Carmel Coast, oil on canvas, 40 x 50 inches; San Pedro Harbor, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches; Cloud Shadows, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches.

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