Bernhard Gutmann (American, 1869 - 1936)
With a wide-ranging career spent in both Europe and America, Bernhard Gutmann was a painter, printmaker, and graphic artist. He also served as an arts educator and administrator, and published several art manuals. He was born in Hamburg, Germany, and trained at the prestigious Dusseldorf and Karlsruhe academies. In 1892, he settled in Lynchburg, Virginia, becoming supervisor of public school art education programs and a strong influence in the local arts community. He founded the Lynchburg Art Club, painted murals, designed book illustrations, and taught at both Lynchburg public schools and at the Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. In 1899, he moved to New York where he worked as a magazine illustrator and formed a fine art publishing company. In 1907 after his marriage to Bertha Goldman, the couple moved to Europe for the next five years, where he embraced the bright colors and vibrant brushwork of impressionism in his landscapes, figure paintings, and still lifes in which Bertha was frequently his model.On their return to the United States in 1912, Gutmann accepted numerous invitations to exhibit his work in his adopted homeland, contributing paintings to many esteemed juried exhibitions including the seminal New York Armory Show of 1913. Later that same year, Gutmann and his family joined the artists’ colony at Silvermine, Connecticut, one of several East Coast centers for the development of American artistic expression at the turn of the twentieth century. There, Gutmann helped organize the Silvermine Guild of Artists. In 1934, Gutmann became regional director for the Works Progress Administration in New Canaan, CT. After his death in 1936 his family sequestered his work, leaving relatively few examples in public possession. In 1938, a retrospective tribute was paid to him by the Vanderbilt Galleries in New York. Throughout his career Gutmann’s work met with critical favor and continues to be added to the collections of distinguished American art institutions.