|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Born in a small town near Venice, Italy, Louis Bosa became a genre,
figure, and landscape painter who exhibited widely, and was also a
much-respected art teacher. Amidst the growing trends of
modernism, especially Abstract Expressionism, he kept to his own unique
style of apolitical, witty character studies and subjects of humor and
human pathos. For art historians, his work has been
difficult to categorize, which has led to him getting less attention
than many of his contemporaries, especially those who had sophisticated
public-relations machines. Also, he was such a unique
character---ever telling jokes and far-fetched stories---that the focus
on him tended to be on his quirky personality rather than the
seriousness of his art.|
Bosa showed early art talent and interest, and began to do figure
paintings, using his family as models, by the age of ten. When he
was fifteen years old, he enrolled in Venice at the Academia delle
Belle Arti, and between 1923 and 1924, emigrated to Hamilton, Canada
where a brother had preceded him and was working in a steel mill.
However, not wanting to become a steel worker as his family was urging
him to do, Louis Bosa moved to Buffalo, New York to join an aunt and
uncle. There he met his future wife, Theresa Krakowska, and
shortly after moved to New York City to pursue art studies. He
took various odd jobs to support himself, and began to do fine-art
painting regularly, fortified by his studies at the Art Students League
whose Director was the Social-Realist painter John Sloan. Sloan's
painting style and subject matter had an ongoing influence on Bosa.
In 1926, Bosa and Theresa married. The couple struggled
financially through the 1930s and early 1940s, and many of his
paintings reflect laboring people or obvious "down and outs" wandering
streets or just standing idle.
A big boost came in 1944 when he won a $1500. prize for painting from
the Pepsi-Cola Company. He also made product endorsements such as
for Grumbacher paints. In 1938, he won the first award that
brought him much attention, the John Wanamaker Prize at an outdoor
exhibition in Washington Square. He was awarded the Altman Prize
at the National Academy of Design, but that was withdrawn when it was
discovered that he was not American born.
In the 1930s, the Bosa purchased a dilapidated cabin, built 1730, in
Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and the cabin, named Casa Bosa, was their
summer home for many years and after retirement, their permanent
home. In an addition to the original structure, Bosa created a
room resembling a chapel in which he housed small sculptures that he
had made and Renaissance religious sculptures that he had collected.
The Bosas also did much entertaining at Casa Bosa, including students from his classes in New York and Cleveland.
1944 to 1946, he was an instructor at the Art Students League in New
York City and from 1943 to 1946, he taught at the Cape Ann School at
Rockport, Massachusetts. In 1960, he was an Instructor of
Advanced Painting at Cleveland Institute of Art 1959.
York, Bosa exhibited at The Kleeman Galleries and the Milch Galleries,
and in 1951, Louis Bosa accepted an assignment from Life
magazine to visit his hometown of Codroipo, Italy, a village near
Venice, and to do paintings of local people. He had not been
there for 27 years, and townspeople there were impressed with him as a
successful artist. He did more than thirty depictions of family
members including his mother and father and ninety-five year old
grandmother. His mother died shortly after that visit, and unable
to return for her funeral, he did a painting called Procession, which had figures of people he knew would be in attendance including himself as an observer peering from a window.
Louis Bosa died in Doylestown, Pennsylvania on October 19, 1981 at age
76. He had cancer of the bladder, and suffered dementia from
anesthesia during surgery in 1975, which meant he did little painting
the last years of his life.
Cher Krause Knight, "Louis Bosa: A keen Eye and a Kind Heart", American Art Review, December 2005, p. 142-148
Collectors of American Art, Annual Bulletin, December 1947
Ed Dannenburg of New York City
Peter Falk, Who Was Who in American Art
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