Franz A. Bischoff

Franz A. Bischoff

1864-1929
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Born in a small town in the northern region of Bohemia in Austria, Franz Bischoff received art training at a local craft school. When he was eighteen, he went to Vienna to study applied design, watercolor painting, and ceramic decorating. In 1885, he immigrated to the United States and settled in New York City, where he obtained employment as a china decorator. He continued in this profession, moving to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Fostoria, Ohio; and finally to Dearborn, Michigan. With a reputation as a foremost ceramic decorator, Bischoff founded the Bischoff School of Ceramic Design and established studios in New York and Detroit. Called the “King of the Rose Painters,” he received numerous awards for his work.
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Bischoff visited California around 1900 and, attracted by the climate and the landscape, decided to move there. In 1905, he purchased a lot in the Lincoln Park area of South Pasadena, and in 1906, he and his family moved to a large home and studio that was built there to his specifications. Designed like an Italian villa, the home encompassed a painting studio, a ceramic workshop, and a spacious gallery. Bischoff had been painting floral still lifes in both watercolor and oil, essentially as studies for his ceramic work. He expanded his oeuvre to include landscapes, and in 1912, made an extended tour of Europe where he studied the works of the old masters and the impressionists. Upon his return, Bischoff began to travel throughout California, from the coastal areas to the high sierra. In the late 1920s, he visited the canyon areas of Utah. With their feathery brushstrokes and muted colors, Bischoff’s early works define him as an impressionist. However, after about 1920, he began to employ bold colors and sculptural forms, qualities that position him within the tenets of post-impressionism.

Three Women at Seashore
Oil on board, c. 1920
19 x 26 inches
Gift of the Carl S. Dentzel Estate
1984.025.262