Gerhard H. Bakker Biography

Gerhard H. Bakker




Gerhard H. Bakker, printmaker, painter, teacher, and photographer, was born to Dutch parents in Solingen, Germany on 30 October 1906 and his earliest studies were at the Kunstgewerbe Schule in Solingen. In 1930, at the age of twenty-three, he arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and enrolled at the Layton School of Art where he studied until 1932 with Gerrit Sinclair. He worked briefly with the WPA in the early 1930s and the U.S. General Services Administration's book WPA Artwork in Non-Federal Repositories lists his 1934 graphic Quincy Mine twice, once as a woodcut and the second time as a lithograph. He continued his studies at the Broadmoor Art Academy in Colorado Springs where he studied with Boardman Robinson, Ward Lockwood, and Tabor Utley.

It appears that Bakker visited Germany in the mid 1930s as his name appears on the passenger log for the SS Columbus that sailed from Bremen, Germany and arrived in the United States on 20 September 1936. The Layton School of Art hired Bakker the following year and he developed and chaired the photography department. He taught photography for over three decades and the Gerhard Bakker Award is presented annually to "an individual, school, company or organization that best epitomizes outstanding service through education in the field of photography and visual communications."

He was a member of and exhibited with the Prairie Print Makers, Print Makers Society of California, Southern Printmakers Society, and the Wisconsin Print Makers. His lithograph Garden of the Gods was included in the Seventeenth International Print Makers Exhibition in March 1936, he showed When Work is Done, Garden of the Gods, and Victor with Portland Mine at the Eighteenth International Print Makers Exhibition in 1937. His lithograph When Work is Done was included in the New York World's Fair exhibition American Art Today in 1939.

Bakker's work is represented in the collections of the Dallas Museum of Art; Milwaukee Art Museum; Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art; Spencer Museum of Art; Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene; and the University of Michigan.

Gerhard H. Bakker died in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 1 October 1988.