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Artist Biography

Called one of "Duveneck's Boys" because of his close association with Cincinnati painter Frank Duveneck, Otto Bacher was a painter, etcher and illustrator who was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He was one of the early impressionists in American art, and his etchings were of high distinction and are now part of the Print Collection of the Library of Congress.

Bacher had his early training in Cleveland with De Scott Evans, and in 1878 became a student in Munich, Germany. In 1880, he was in Venice with Duveneck as well as William Merritt Chase and also met James Whistler who commissioned Bacher to make a series of prints of Venice for the Fine Art Society of London. This project became a seminal turning point in Bacher's career because it focused him on the skill of etching for which he became most known. In 1876, he had made his first etchings in Cleveland and later perfected this technique in Munich. He even brought his own printing press to Venice where he shared it with Whistler. In 1907, Bacher wrote a book titled With Whistler in Venice.

In 1883, he returned briefly to New York, but traveled back to Europe, and from 1885-86, studied at the Academie Julian in Paris with Gustave Boulanger, Jules Lefebvre, Carolus-Duran and again with Frank Duveneck.

As an illustrator, Bacher was much sought after and created work for Scribner's, McClure's, Century, and other magazines. He was one of the founding members of the Society of Illustrators (1901), and that same year won a prize at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo.


Walt Reed, The Illustrator in America
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art
William Gerdts, American Impressionism