Franz Bergmann

Theme/Style – Modernism

Media – Oils, murals, watercolors, illustrations, copper enamel

Artistic Focus – Whatever their medium, Franz Bergmann’s bold, modern paintings – often seeming European in influence – and his large and sometimes eccentric murals, were praised for their dexterous facility, use of brilliant color and poetic quality. Categorized as a Modernist, Bergmann employed the techniques of particular artistic styles – Post-Impressionism, Cubism and Futurism among them – without ever allowing himself to be strictly identified with any of the styles he incorporated into his work.

Career Highlights –

• Though Franz Bergmann's father was a librarian and frustrated artist and his mother a pianist, it was only after his service for Austria in World War I that he began taking his own art studies seriously.
• Enrolling in the Vienna National Academy of Art, Bergmann completed the seven-year course of study – exhibiting in Stockholm and Vienna during his sixth year – and earning top honors upon his graduation in 1925.
• After traveling through Europe, Bergmann sought his artistic fortune in America. He worked in New York and Chicago before heading west in the late 1920s, painting in the Rocky Mountains outside Denver before arriving in San Francisco.
• Sometimes Bergmann's paintings offered a word of social commentary through gentle satire – in Los Angeles Main Street, for example, he incorporated bits of boasting and honky-tonk to poke modest fun at the self-declared Center of the Universe.
• Bergmann, who often called himself “Frank” and spelled his last name with only one "n" in an effort to assimilate, resided in the San Francisco Bay Area until his demise.