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Franz Arthur Bischoff

 (1864 - 1929)
Franz Arthur Bischoff was active/lived in California, New York.  Franz Bischoff is known for landscape, still life and harbor view painting.

Franz Arthur Bischoff

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Franz Arthur Bischoff
Born in Bomen, Austria, Franz Bischoff became known as "King of the Rose Painters," one of the most respected ceramic decorators of his time. He was also a leading Southern California plein-air landscape painter of the early 20th century.

He had early training at a craft school and in 1882 went to Vienna for study in painting and porcelain decoration.  He arrived in New York City in 1885 and took a job as a painter in a ceramic factory. Following that, he worked as a ceramic decorator in a variety of places including Pittsburgh; Fostoria, Ohio; and Dearborn, Michigan. In New York and Detroit, he founded the Bischoff School of Ceramic Art and developed the formula for many of his own colored glazes.

In 1900, he first visited California and shortly after settled in Los Angeles.  In 1908, he built his studio home with gallery, ceramic workshop, and painting studio, along the Arroyo Seco in South Pasadena. In 1912, he spent extended time in Europe and was influenced both by the Impressionists and the Old Masters.

Living in California, he devoted much time to landscape painting and painted in Monterey, Laguna Beach, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the desert near Palm Springs. In 1928, he went to Utah and painted in Zion National Park with his friend, John Christopher Smith. By this time, his style was regarded as post-impressionist with expressive use of color and highlighting.

He was a member of the California Art Club and the Laguna Beach Art Association. His ceramics were exhibited at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago and at the 1904 Exposition in St. Louis.

Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940

Biography from Lawrence Beebe Fine Art
Biography photo for Franz Arthur Bischoff
Franz A. Bischoff was born January 9, 1864 in Bomen, Austria. In 1885 he emmigrated to the United States and became a naturalized U.S. citizen. Bischoff studied applied design, watercolor and ceramic decoration while in Europe. Living and working in New York, Fostoria, Ohio and Dearborn, Michigan, he painted beautiful ceramics and remarkable floral paintings earning a reputation as the "King of Rose Painters".

Bischoff decided to visit California in 1900 and eventually relocated to Los Angeles in 1906. Upon arriving, he then started the design and arrangements to build a large and impressive home and studio, in the Italian Renaissance style, in Pasadena that was completed in 1908.

Inspired by the California landscape, Bischoff turned his attention from ceramic painting to easel painting -- he painted farms, villages, fishing wharves and coastal seascapes -- he traveled and painted in Utah, the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and the coast between Laguna Beach and Monterey, California. During his career Franz Bischoff was recognized for a superb use of color and strong compositions, sometimes painting in an impressionist style or a post-impressionist style. One critic commented some of his later works flirted with Expressionism and his use of colors were reminiscent of the Fauvist movement. His plein air landscapes would always show Bischoff's deep respect and reverence for nature.

In 1912 he traveled to London, Paris, Munich, Naples and Rome. He won the Huntington Prize from the California Art Club in 1924. His paintings can be found in the Laguna Beach Museum of Art, the Gardena High School collection, the Oakland Museum and the Terra Museum of American Art, Evanston, Illinois. Franz Bischoff died in Pasadena, California on February 5, 1929.

Biography from The Redfern Gallery
Biography photo for Franz Arthur Bischoff
Painter, ceramist. Born in Austria in the small town of Bomen on Jan 14, 1864. Bischoff studied art in Vienna before immigrating to the U.S. in 1885. He worked as a decorator of china in a New York factory and later continued this line of work in Pittsburgh, PA and Fostoria, OH. In 1892 he moved to Dearborn, MI where he produced ceramic works and taught china decorating. He first visited California in 1900, but it was six years later before he and his family moved to Los Angeles. Bischoff established a studio in the Blanchard Building and in 1908 built a palatial Italian Renaissance style studio-home in the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena.

He brought with him a reputation of one as the nation's greatest china painters; however, in California he turned to painting impressionist landscapes of the desert around Palm Springs and the poppy fields near the Arroyo Seco.

His subjects also include floral still lifes, harbor scenes in San Pedro, coastals and Zion National Park. (done in 1928). Bischoff's early works were softer and more muted that his later works, which often show the influence of Expressionism and the Fauves.

Exhibited: World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893 (ceramics); Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St Louis, 1904 (ceramics).Awards: Bronze and silver medals, Panama California International Exposition, San Diego, 1915; Huntington Prize, California Club, 1924.

Works Held: Laguna Beach Museum of Art; Gardena California High School; Oakland Museum; Terra Museum, Evanston, IL.
(Biography courtesy Hughes, Edan Milton, "Artists in California: 1786-1940," San Francisco: Hughes Publishing Company, 1989.)

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art - Santa Monica
Biography photo for Franz Arthur Bischoff
Franz Bischoff was born in Austria, where he studied at a crafts school, specializing in painting and porcelain.  Emigrating to the United States in 1885, Bischoff worked in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, ultimately setting up Bischoff Schools of Ceramic Art in New York and Dearborn.

Arriving in Pasadena in 1908, Bischoff established a home and studio along the Arroyo, bringing with him a reputation as one of the finest porcelain artists in America. Once in California, Bischoff turned his attentions to landscape painting. His best known works are of the Arroyo near his home, California wildflowers, and the Monterey Peninsula.

Biography from Fleischer Museum
An Austrian by birth, an American by naturalization and a master ceramic decorator by trade, Franz A. Bischoff made a fateful visit to California in 1900. He was thirty-six, and the climate and scenery so captivated him that he initiated what was to be a major change in his life--from being a celebrated East Coast china painter to becoming a masterful Western landscape painter.  He was twenty-one when he emigrated from Austria to the United States in 1885.

Having been trained in applied design, watercolor painting and ceramic decoration, he found work as a china decorator in a New York factory.  He continued this type of work in Pittsburgh and later in Fostoria, Ohio, where he met and married Bertha Greenwald.  They had two children, a daughter, Frances and a son, Oscar.  Pursuing a job offer, Bischoff moved his family to Dearborn, Michigan, in 1892.  Before long, he opened his own studio, producing ceramics and teaching classes in china decorating.

In his workshop he formulated and manufactured many of his own ceramic colors.  He opened a second school in New York and participated in exhibitions, winning awards and earning a reputation as the "King of the Rose Painters,"Riding high in his trade with an established reputation and an apparently abundant income, Bischoff, in 1906, left New York, Dearborn and his business behind and moved to Los Angeles.

Setting up a temporary studio in the Blanchard Building, he began the planning and arrangements to build what surely must have been his dream home and studio.  It was completed in 1908--a large and impressive building of Italian Renaissance style located on the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena.   Besides living quarters, it included a large gallery for public exhibitions, a complete ceramic workshop and a painting studio with a superb view of the wooded canyon and distant mountains.  This natural setting was the subject of a majority of his early landscape paintings and later, although he traveled extensively--to the Sierras and the coast from Laguna Beach to Monterey--he never failed to find inspiration there.

His success as an easel painter in California was immediate--both with the critics and the public.  Reviewing an exhibition in 1909, Anderson wrote of his landscape paintings: "They are, indeed, very strong sketches, occasionally fine in color, excellent in composition and full of genuine and most reverent love for nature...There can be no doubt, it seems to me, that at no very distant day this gifted artist will be numbered among the strongest of Southern California's landscape painters."

Although he taught classes, produced ceramics and ceramic materials and continued to paint flowers, Bischoff devoted most of his time to the painting of landscapes and scenes of everyday life--from fields and farms to fishing wharves.  He traveled to Europe in 1912, remaining almost a year and visiting Naples, Capri, Rome, Munich, Paris and London.  He studied the Old Masters and the French Impressionists and sketched and painted in oil and watercolor.

In the 1920's he traveled to the Sierras and the coast of Northern California and, in 1928, the year before he died, he made a trip to Utah, painting boldly colorful scenes of Zion National Park.  His style ranged from impressionists through post-impressionistic, and later it even showed the influence of Expressionism.

Stern observed, "Many of his later works...suggest a slight flirtation with Expressionism, with a bold juxtaposition of colors reminiscent of the Fauves' aim to 'liberate color from its role in nature,' and explore the psychological power of color."

That he was a superb colorist is a strongly recurring theme among his critics, who often credited this to his china-painting background.   The distinguished and highly successful artisan who raised china painting to a fine art form became, in the gentle climate and scenic environment of California, a plein air painter who left a rich legacy of expressive works which "reflect enchantment with an amicable frontier."


Westphal, Ruth, Plein Air Painters of California, The Southland. Westphal Publishing, Irvine, California 1982.

Hughes, Edan Milton, Artists in California 1786-1940

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About  Franz Arthur Bischoff

Born:  1864 - Bowmen, Austria
Died:   1929 - Arroyo Seco, California
Known for:  landscape, still life and harbor view painting

Essays referring to
Franz Arthur Bischoff

The California Art Club