Franz Joseph Bolinger, Self Portrait, oil on canvas, 36 by 34 inches, signed lower right. 

Franz Bolinger moved to Ft. Lauderdale with his family in 1905. In 1919 the family moved to Miami where he attended school. Bolinger was an accomplished botanist and an avid naturalist, who often visited the Everglades to paint landscapes. To further his work as a portrait painter, in 1949, he studied anatomy with a Miami doctor. Bolinger claimed to be largely self-taught but valued the criticism he received during his early days in Miami from Henry Salem Hubbell and Howard Hilder. The Miami Herald, September 22, 1946, described his work at the Washington Art Galleries: “Mr. Bolinger, who has been painting vigorously and constantly for several years, is showing twelve oils done in the lyric mood. As a group, they represent his sincere feeling about Florida landscape, in its many picturesque manifestations. Bolinger, a Miami resident for many years, has right-about-faced his painting technique several times during his career, each time with interesting results. He has painted sensationally, boldly, and now moodily. He is a singer as well as an artist.” At his death in 1986, the Miami Herald called him, “A man obsessed by his love of nature, best known for his outspoken devotion to and massive collection of paintings of the Everglades.” The Herald quoted Bolinger, “It’s so beautiful, so beautiful that I get bitter at these people who are destroying it…. Civilization is working night and day to destroy the great vacant places on Earth. If the Creator was willing, I’d paint 500 pictures a year. I don’t care if I sell one…”

Frans Joseph Bolinger, Florida Tropics, oil on canvas, 20 by 18 inches, signed lower right.

Born: 1903, Herrin, Illinois. Died: July 25, 1986, Miami. Education: Jamuli Al Hadji-Birra; George Von Lake; in Sweden with Eric Carlberg; University of Miami, 1953. Membership: Blue Dome Fellowship; Miami Art League. Exhibits: Miami Woman’s Club, 2nd Annual Artists’ Salon, February 1930; Miami Woman’s Club 7th Annual exhibit, February 1935, Morning; Miami Woman’s Club annual at Miami Federal Galleries, old post office, February 1937; North Miami Woman’s Club, One Man Exhibit, twenty paintings, February 1938;  Blue Dome Gallery, Coral Gables, January 1941, joint exhibit with J. Clinton Shepherd; Washington Art Studio, Miami Beach, April 1941, in the Florida Room, Palms and Surf; Washington Art Gallery, Miami Beach, May 1943, floral designs in pointillism; Miami Junior League Exhibit at Burdines, March 1945, Country Church; Washington Art Galleries, November 1945; Housekeepers Club tea, Coconut Grove, February 10, 1946 honoring Miami artists, a landscape; Washington Art Galleries, September 1946, Florida landscapes, Everglades; Washington Art Galleries, November 1946, portrait, Joan Adair; Society of The Four Arts, 9th Annual Members Exhibit, December 1946-January 1947, oil, Florida Keys; Miami Beach Art Center, June 1947, Beyond Civilization (cranes in the Everglades), Beside Still Waters, Deserted,  The Storm, Reflections Undisturbed, The Gallows Tree Bears Bitter Fruit, a lynching scene;  Blue Dome Fellowship annual, Miami Beach Art Center, December 1947-January 1948, a large landscape, Angel’s Cove; Blue Dome Fellowship, at Housekeeper’s Clubhouse, Bayshore Drive, January-February 1948; Miami Beach Art Center, February 1948, landscapes, Rosenheim, Quiet Afternoon; Junior League of Miami, 1st Art Exhibit, March 1948; John Nicholson Galleries, New York City, One Man Show, May 1948, 14 landscapes of Florida and Nassau; Washington Art Galleries, Miami Beach, November 1948; Coconut Harvest Festival, sponsored by Miami Art League, Crandon Park, May 7, 1950, Black Hound; Eve Tucker Galleries, Alton Road, Miami Beach, October-November 1950, Tropical Thunder Cloud; Miami Beach Art Center, January 1952, including The White Horses, Los Banos, Deserted House and a portrait of Netta Symes Morris (a Miami voice coach); Eve Tucker Galleries, November 1953, Jug and Bottle, portraits, Susie, Katherine.

Franz Joseph Bolinger, Everglades, 23.5 by 29.5, oil on canvas, signed lower right.


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