Distinguished Artist Series


Franz A. Bischoff


by Jean Stern


In an exhibition in his studio in March, 1912, Bischoff displayed the following paintings: Roses, Cloud Shadows, White Roses, several paintings entitled Mums , Rainy Day Arroyo, and Cliffs and Sea (a Santa Monica scene). In the accompanying article, Bischoff is quoted as saying, "I never have to go very far away from home for my inspiration to paint."

In September, 1912, Bischoff took an extended trip to Europe. His departure was marked by a surprise party in his studio, attended by several friends and fellow artists. Bischoff visited Naples, Capri, Venice, Rome, Munich, Paris and London. While in Europe, he studied the Old Masters and was sufficiently impressed by the Impressionists that he painted several water color copies of late pastels by Degas. He produced several oil paintings and watercolors before returning to Pasadena in July, 1913.

In October, 1914, Bischoff had an exhibition of 27 paintings at the Friday Morning Club. The exhibit was sponsored by a women's club who held regular art shows at their exhibit hall at 940 South Figueroa Street. Among the paintings on display were San Pedro Harbor, Fishermen's Fleet, Moonlight in San Pedro, Delivering the Catch, San Pedro, Midday in the Canyan, Springtime, and Venice. The exhibit also included a number of small oil sketches. The reviewer stated that Bischoff was "...a close student of nature in her most retrospective moods, a lover of fine line and restrained color, and restrained color harmonies..."

All of these paintings, except for Venice, suggest that Bischoff was still remaining close to home in his search for inspiration. In addition, as is evident from the critical comment, these paintings did not exhibit harsh colors or color harmonies.

By 1920, Bischoff began to take painting trips into the Sierras and produced several majestic mountain landscapes. In the 1921 California Art Club exhibition, he showed Mt. Alice, and Black Lake Glacier. In May, 1922, he had an exhibition at the Stendahl Galleries, then located in the Ambassador Hotel. He showed 16 paintings of flowers and landscapes including several mountain scenes. Palisades Glacier and Sunset Lake and Glacier were two of these paintings. In a newspaper review of this show, art critic Antony Anderson was irritated by Bischoff's bold colors, "...(his) chief fault is a certain lack of solidity of forms, a tendency to utilize color for its own sake and to disregard the fact that objects in nature must have the quality of those objects when translated into paint."

From top to bottom: Spring, oil on canvas, 24 x 32 inches; Rest Camp, California, oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches; Japanese Fishing Boats, sealing wax, 19 x 26 inches; San Fernando Valley Lupins, oil on board, 19 x 26 inches; Sierras at Sunset, Mt. Alice, oil on board, 13 x 19 inches; Mount Alice, oil on canvas, 34 x 30 inches.

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