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Ben Badura was born in Milwaukee in 1896. He studied art at the State Normal School for Teachers in Milwaukee and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where he won a Cresson Scholarship in 1924. While studying at the Academy under Arthur B. Carles, Daniel Garber, and George Oberteuffer, he met fellow student, Faye Swengel, whom he married in 1928. In 1930 they moved to Bucks County. Badura studied frame making from Uhlerstown artist Frederick Harer and opened a frame shop in New Hope which he operated until 1981. Badura also worked with the artist, George Sotter, preparing stained glass designs for Sotter's commissions. He exhibited his paintings both locally and nationally and provided frames for many Delaware Valley artists, including Daniel Garber, Edward Redfield, and Richard Wedderspoon. His frames were hand carved and gilded, featuring graffito and punch work designs influenced by traditional Pennsylvania folk art. Badura died in 1986.
Ben Badura, Photograph by Jack Rosen. Collection of James A. Michener Art Museum.
Education and Training
State Normal School for Teachers, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, c.1924
Cresson Traveling Scholarship for study in France, 1924
Studied frame making with Frederick Harer of Uhlerstown, Pennsylvania
Teachers and Influences
Ben Badura studied under Daniel Garber and Arthur B. Carles at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He studied frame making with local artist and frame maker Frederick Harrer, of Uhlerstown, Pennsylvania.
Connection to Bucks County
Badura was a Bucks County resident from 1930 until his death in 1986. He owned a frame shop in New Hope from 1932 to 1981, and exhibited both art and frames throughout Bucks County.
Colleagues and Affiliations
Ben Badura worked with his wife, artist Faye Swengel Badura. He also worked with stained glass artist George Sotter. One of America's leading framemakers, he made frames for virtually all the Bucks County artists, most notably Daniel Garber, Edward Redfield, George Sotter, and Richard Wedderspoon. On the back of his frames he signed "Badura" or "B. Badura." He lived in New Hope across the street from John Folinsbee in a house designed by architect and painter Don Hedges. Badura knew Ralston Crawford and other New Hope modernists, as well as most regional artists.
Memberships and Affiliations
New Century Club, 1924
Cresson Traveling Scholarship, 1924, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Major Group Exhibitions
Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts, Hartford, Connecticut, 1934 (prize)
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1932, 1935, 1937
National Academy of Design, New York, New York, 1933,1934
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania , 1932, 1933, 1943
Fiftieth Anniversary Retrospective Art Exhibition, Phillips' Mill Community Association, New Hope, Pennsylvania ,1979
The Human Figure, Bucks County Council on the Arts, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 1981
Retrospective Exhibition of Bernard and Faye Swengel Badura, Coryell Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey, 1985
Carved, Incised, Gilded and Burnished: The Bucks County Framemaking Tradition, James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2000-2001
The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
An Evolving Legacy: Twenty Years of Collecting at the James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, 2009-2010
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Chicago Galleries Association, Chicago, Illinois
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
National Gallery, Washington, DC
New Haven Museum, New Haven, Connecticut
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, New Jersey
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Watercolor Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia
Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania