Punch Amidst the Roses

A recent painting was accepted as part of a juried show here in LA at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, I was of course pleased.


by the author

colored pencil on paper

oil on canvas

Although only a student show, it is of course flattering to have your work hung upon  the unblemished white walls of a museum, a nifty nameplate puffs up one’s ego. Alas that was soon deflated.

The work most valued eluded my sensibilities, I do appreciate the notion of conceptual art, but I fear much of what is praised smacks of the Emperor’s newest wardrobe.

Or perhaps I am just griping about sour grapes.

Instead of being a pill I decided to explore the other galleries. I was pleased that I made that the decision, for I found a world quite separate from the bed-frames hanging from the ceiling, here in these empty galleries I found color, skill and the sort of painting that has long been out of fashion- the painting of lovely roses.

I know, rose paintings tend towards the insipid, but these were vibrant, strong, big juicy globs of oil truly capturing the essence of the rose.

These paintings were by an artist I was quite unfamiliar with, Franz A. Bischoff, an Austrian by birth, who  ultimately set root in Pasadena. Apparently successful enough with his lush paintings, delicate china decoration,  lessons to  society matrons and  even a line of supplies, that he was able to build a lavish neo-Renaissance home/studio enjoying fame and comfort.

Franz A. Bischoff

b. 9th January 1864

d. 5th February 1929

Tastes have certainly changed, but the Pasadena Museum put on quite a nice exhibition of his work, Gardens & Grandeur, porcelains and paintings of Franz A. Bischoff.

Unfortunately the show closed on the March 20th, but I revisited the gallery with the specific intention of sharing his paintings. He was known for his plein air work but I must confess I found them less exciting, at least en masse.

The roses seemed special.

They  reflect a time when painting for paintings sake was valued,when the craft of painting  was cultivated and admired.

Or perhaps I have adopted my grandmother’s taste…

Perla van Gadensberg Roses



watercolor on paper




detail of above

detail of same painting, I’m just very impressed with the thick use of paint and yet still a masterful control of his medium, tricky business.



A Bouquet of Roses


White and Pink Maman Cochet Roses


detail of above

Roses on a Tea Table


As the title of the show implies, Bischoff was gifted in the art of porcelain painting.

I admit, they may be an acquired taste.

Bischoff’s paintbox

Although the Bischoff show has ended, my painting, if you are inclined will be on view April 3rd through the 24th.


In some ways the museum’s  garage decorated by Kenny Scharf is as charmingly old fashioned as a Bischoff bouquet.

Difficult to not include it.

the author in a Scharfian fantasy

Wishing you all a pleasant evening,

Baroque Baroque

7 Responses to “Punch Amidst the Roses”

  1. Luscious. You’ve probably enjoyed the library at the Frick on a NYC trip but someday I hope you get to the Clark, up near me in Williamstown, MA. Mr. Bischoff would be very comfortable in both.

  2. And I love your Punch- fabulous cartouche, is it, or its decorative surround, correctly called that?

  3. Believe it or not I have not been to the Frick, eager to do so on my next visit.Familiar with their charming home in Pittsburgh, Clayton, worlds removed from the elegant NY home.
    And yes would love to visit the Clark.

    I think a cartouche would be appropriate, I was thinking of a proscenium , playing upon the circus theme, but I fancy a Carny Cartouche!

  4. Smart of you to make the connection between historic pop/kitsch and contemporary pop/kitsch. Very true.

    • babylonbaroque Says:

      Thanks, I hadn’t meant to imply Bischoff’s work was kitsch, nor Scharf’s , but I can understand how they would be interpreted as such.
      Take care.

  5. would you share with me the photos of bishoffs porcelain painting..I am a fan and a porcelain artist

  6. babylonbaroque Says:

    YES of course, the images were taken with my phone so I do not believe there would be proprietary concerns. One image, that of the artist in his Pasadena studio I believe its stock, but not sure at the moment. I would recommend since you are an admirer of Bischoff to purchase “Franz A. Bischoff, the Life & Art of an American Master”, put out by the the Irvine Museum. I think it would enhance your library, beautiful plates of his work. Take care,

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