Otto Bacher, painter, etcher, and illustrator, was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1856. Bacher's early training was with the painter De Scott Evans in Cleveland and he also studied for a short time at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. After returning to Cleveland he learned etching from Cleveland artist Sion Longley Wenban (18918-1897).
In 1878 Bacher traveled with fellow artist Willis Seaver Adams to Munich where he briefly enrolled at the Royal Academy. While in Munich he met the Cincinnati painter Frank Duveneck and they traveled to Florence and Venice. Bacher and several other artists established studios in the Casa Jankovitz. While in Venice, Bacher had his etching press sent from Munich and he taught Duveneck the basic techniques of etching. He also met American expatriate James McNeill Whistler who became a regular visitor to Bacher's studio to take advantage of his etching press and his knowledge of the etching medium. Whistler commissioned Bacher to make a series of prints of Venice for the Fine Art Society of London
Bacher was included in the first exhibition of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers in London in 1881 and was elected a Fellow that same year. He also exhibited at the National Academy of Design and was elected an Associate of the academy in 1906. He was one of the founding members of the Society of Illustrators and his work was published in Scribner's, McClure's, Century, and other magazines.
Bacher traveled to London and then Paris in 1885 before settling in Venice. In 1886, he returned to Paris and briefly studied at the Académie Julian with Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefebvre. In 1888, he married and settled permanently in New York.
Otto Bacher was one of the early exponents of Impressionist painting in American art but he is remembered primarily as a printmaker. His work is represented in the Clark Art Institute, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Harvard Art Museums, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Otto Bacher died in Lawrence Park, New York in 1909.
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