|Acquisition Number: 86.18
Medium: Watercolor on paper
Size: 18" x 24"
Credit: Gift of Frederick A. and Helen C. Biehle
in memory of Scott Whitemeyer
One of northeast Ohio’s most prolific and distinguished artists, August Biehle, Jr. combined masterful draftsmanship with superior sense of design.
August Biehle, Jr. started drawing during his childhood. At the age of fourteen he began a three-year apprenticeship with his father and assisted with decorative commissions in Cleveland, Chicago and surrounding communities. During this period, the young Biehle learned to mix paints, draw historic ornaments and sketch from nature. In 1903, at the age of eighteen, he went to Munich to study at the Kunstgewerbeschule, one of the finest arts-and–crafts schools in Europe. Of course instruction emphasized methods of transforming precise drawings of plants, birds and insects in to the elegantly stylized of Jugendstil, the German equivalent to French Art Nouveau.
Around 1919 Biehle began painting with Henry Keller at Berlin Heights, Ohio, an artist’s colony near Sandusky. Working mostly outdoors, the painters of Berlin Heights conducted experiments with modern design and color theory.
Biehle contributed paintings of both urban and rural Ohio to the American Scene movement of the 1920s and 1930s. Unlike the conventional “realism” of American Scene paintings, Biehle rendered this vision of rural Ohio in a unique style that fuses the whip lashing line of Jugendstil with the geometric planes of Cubism and the “blue outline” of Berlin Heights.
After retiring from commercial lithography, the profession that sustained him from 1913 to 1952, Biehle continued to paint independently.