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 Michael Meyer Bach  (1908 - 2000)

About: Michael Meyer Bach
 

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Lived/Active: California      Known for: urban street scene, genre, landscape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Michael Bach graduated from Cooper Union in New York and had an art business there.  Examples of his work would be display ads for publication, full-page commercial advertisements and decals.  His paintings consisted of views of Brooklyn life; tenement homes, street scenes, window views of the seasons, wharfs, boats, fishing and people.  He created many freehand sketches that were more intuitive than structured.  He was first a realist then settled on impressionism that incorporated both oil and water color.  He painted both in his studio using his uncanny memory to create moments in time, as well as, bringing his easel into the field.

In 1938, he went to Southern California and worked at North American Aviation as a technical illustrator on the P-51 Mustang.  He continued painting after leaving North American Aviation to work for Bach Label, Inc.  He passed away in 2001 at age 93.

He judged exhibitions and competed in them, and preferred oil and acrylic on canvas and board, but excelled in multi-media as well.

He preferred impressionism and plein-air style, focusing first on his home of Brooklyn, NY and later of Southern California.  He loved fishing, loved the ocean and the mountains, and was a very gifted man.

It is interesting to note his subject matter changed throughout his life as he matured from life's experiences, as I guess most artists do.  Living in NY brought forth images of life there.  First, the strict discipline of commercial illustration, then, a bit more freedom in personal expression.  Moving out West produced a number of views of Southern California with its Spanish influences.  Then, after making Los Angeles his new home, pictures of city life there emerged and continued until 1978, when he drove his grandson Adam to college in Washington State.  The three day drive up instilled upon him a great wealth of nature and its beauty and I believe it profoundly affected him as an artist.  After he returned from this trip, the results of this influence could be seen in the profusion of landscape paintings he made.  In fact, they made a stop at the border of California and Oregon to pick up great pieces of ocean drift wood that would later become additional artworks.

He enjoyed the saturated colors of first oil and then acrylic paint, the free-form flow of water color, pen & ink and finally wood as his medium of choice.

But in the end, he seemed to fall back unto the images of his youth and immortalized them paint as he reached his 93rd year.

Submitted April, 2003 by Adam Namerow:
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The following is also from "M. Adam Namerow," courtesy of Edan Hughes, author of Artists in California, 1786-1940"

Michael Meyer Bach was born May 9, 1909 in Brooklyn, NY. His parents, Abraham & Lena Bach were of Russian descent, however, he did not speak the language.  He was 17 years old, in September 1926, when he applied to and was accepted at Cooper Union School of Arts and Sciences, NY; he was the 5th person accepted out of 2000 applicants!  He studied Advertising and Poster Design under the famous Leon Kroll and Pencil Technique under Rabus from 1926-30.  In fact, he was Leon Kroll's teaching assistant for 4 years.  Mr. Bach graduated on June 10, 1930.

He married Rose Kraska on June 28, 1931, in Brooklyn, NY.  And for several years, he conducted his own successful Art Services Studio on New York's Fifth Avenue and gave private instruction in Life Classes.  He has exhibited at Cooper Union and other galleries in New York.

In 1938, Mr. Bach transferred his Art Services Studio and young family to Los Angeles.  It is particularly interesting to note this was accomplished in a VW Beetle!  During the war years (WWII), he was a highly successful technical illustrator for North American Aviation.  He was assigned to draw exploded views, wiring diagrams and hydraulic systems for the P-51 Mustang.  Mr. Bach told me that during lunch he would actually sit in a cockpit to eat and relax.  He also had top-level clearance to visit the wind tunnel and watch the actual resistance tests on fighter model prototypes.

Mr. Bach left North American after the war, to focus on nurturing his new business which evolved from his Art Services Studio and was established as Bach Label, Inc. Using his ingenuity and his natural ability, he modified three, full size fly-wheel printing presses to accept continuous spooled fabric to print, cut and fold "care" labels for the garment industry.  Even though he worked six days a week, Mr. Bach still managed to find time to paint and exhibit his works at many local galleries in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Santa Barbara.  In fact, his studio at home was his mode to stress reduction.  I still have memories of him; pipe in mouth, music quietly playing in the background and him gently smiling at me as he worked at his easel.

He was a member of The American Institute of Fine Arts, Los Angeles, CA and on Sunday, May 19, 1968, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, former California Governor, Goodwin J. Knight and retired Major General Leroy Hugh Watson presented him with the A.I.F.A's."Footprints on the Sands of Time" Silver Medal (which his wife, Rose, pinned on him) and an award of merit for excellence in water-color painting.

Upon his retirement, Mr. Bach sold the label business to his son who continued in his footsteps and then ultimately retired too.  And, although not exhibiting as much, Mr. Bach continued to create art until his death in August 2000.

These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Michael Meyer Bach was born in Brooklyn, NY on May 9, 1909.  Bach studied at the Cooper Union.  While working in advertising art, he painted Brooklyn street scenes and tenement life.   He continued as such after settling in Los Angeles in 1938.  He died there on Aug. 9, 2000. 
Source:
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
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Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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