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Artist Biography


Florence Julia Bach was an American painter and a native of Buffalo, New York. She was born June 24, 1887 to John Lewis Bach and Julia Spies Bach. At an early age Miss Bach displayed a unique aptitude for drawing. In her childhood, the paper dolls she painted were the envy of her playmates. She also used to wish that the school session was one uninterrupted drawing period.

She attended Buffalo public school and had private instruction at the Mme. Farine School of Speech. She studied art with Professor Carl Wachter at the University of Buffalo. Following her graduation from Lafayette High School she enrolled in the Buffalo Art Students League. Her talent won immediate recognition, and she was awarded a scholarship to continue her study at the Art Students League of New York City under William Merritt Chase, the best-known American portrait painter at that time, and under Frank Vincent DuMond. Later, in 1925 she studied modeling at the Ecole de Beaux Arts, Fontainebleau, France under Monsieur Le Jeune and in the early 1930s she went to Italy for further study.

An artist of long experience, she had for years enjoyed recognition of her skill in floral portrayal. Miss Bach, working from nature, produced clear, accurate, realistic paintings. She spent many of her summers at the farm of her aunt, Mrs. Anna Phelps, near Bethel, Connecticut, and it was there that she painted many still life and flower studies.

Bach was also a portrait artist in both painting and sculpture. Included among her subjects were: Commodore Harry E. Montague, Dr. Charles Cary, Dr. Kahler, Mrs. Charles Cary, Mrs. James Crate, Elsa Schmidt, George Cary's two children, Marialove and Charles Cary, Arletta Lothrop, Mary Francis Larkin, Dr. William Warren Quinton, Dorothy Douglas, Mrs. H. A. Kidder, Miss Rose Movius, Edward Dufner, David Ericson, Urquhart Wilcox, Elizabeth MacKinstry, Mary B. W. Coxe, Ernest Fosbury, and Eugene Monahan. She also did a decorative panel, five feet by nine feet, for the Farney Wurlitzer home in Tonawanda.

Miss Bach once said that "Any intelligent person can learn to draw, but that does not mean that anyone can become an artist. For the artist must do more than reproduce what he sees - he must interpret - give something of himself to his painting." Miss Bach had a rare privilege of viewing art from every angle. As instructor in the School of Fine Arts in Buffalo for 29 years, she observed the early stages of its development in the work of her students. As President of the Buffalo Society of Fine Arts she was afforded an exceptional opportunity to see the outstanding paintings produced there. As an artist and sculptor she knew the satisfaction of creative achievement.

In 1943 Miss Bach moved from New York to Bethel, Connecticut with Mrs. Evelyn C. Murnam. After recovering from a broken hip she returned to live in Manhattan in 1945. Years later she moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, where she taught once a week. For recreation, Miss Bach enjoyed her walks and reading about history and the lives of artists. She spent her last years enjoying her gardens and her love for cooking. She will be remembered by many with sincere respect and abiding affection.

Her honors and awards include: Honors - Diploma, First Degree Sculpture, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Fontainebleau; winner of Buffalo Society of Artists' Fellowship Prize in 1915, 1918, 1919, 1921 and 1924; Member of the Council, Buffalo Society of Artists 1917 and 1926 (pres., 1929-30); Member Jury of Award, Fellowship Prize, Buffalo Society of Artists Exhibition of 1926; Distinguished Service in Art Medal at the Buffalo Centennial in 1932. She also had been an exhibiting member at Grand Central Galleries Inc, New York for several decades with a solo exhibition in 1944.

References:
Peter Hastings Falk, Who Was Who in American Art: 1564-1975 (Madison, CT: Soundview Press, 1999)
Chris Petteys, Dictionary of Women Artists: An International Dictionary of Women Artists Born Before 1900 (Boston, MA: G. K. Hall & Co., 1985)
James Wyatt Earp, (Most of the information from his biography of the artist was written from articles from old newspaper clippings and magazines, and personal letters of the artist).