Bernard Badura

Life Dates

Bernard "Ben" Badura (1896 - 1986) was born in Milwaukee, WI, studying at Wisconsin State Normal School for Teachers and serving during World War I. In 1923, Badura enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy, studying under Arthur Carles and Daniel Garber

In 1924, he was awarded the Cresson Traveling Scholarship, enabling him to continue his studies in Europe. Badura retrned in 1927 and moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, apprenticing under Frederick Harer, a world class frame maker. Badura met and married fellow academy student Faye Swengel in 1928. Shortly thereafter, the couple settled on Main Street in New Hope from 1931 until the end of their long and prosperous lives. 

During his early days in Bucks County, Badura worked as a stained glass artisan in the studios of George Sotter. While also learning the frame making trade from Fredrick Harer, Badura was to make an important career decision - painting (his passion), stained glass artisan, or frame maker. Deciding it best not to compete with his wife's painting career, Badura chose frame making. 

His friend and mentor Fredrick Harer had much more orders for frames then he could handle, so he gave his overrun orders to the newly established Badura studio, giving Badura's new business a successful start. What began as the seemingly right choice primarily for financial reasons, soon turned in to a passion and Badura's frames became highly sought after. It wasn’t long before Badura was turning away work as he only would take on as much work as needed to pay the monthly bills, leaving any spare time for painting. Badura left behind a legacy of hand carved and gilded masterpieces often found surrounding the works of Daniel Garber, Edward Redfield, Roy Nuse, Fern Coppedge, and many others.  He also made the occasional ornamental mirror using floral designs, chevron carvings and unique scrafedo designs depicting birds and foliage. Ben worked as one of the nation’s foremost frame makers until his death.

Badura was a member of The New Century Club and exhibited at The Connecticut Academy of Fine Art (1934 prize, “White Tenant House,”)  Corcoran Gallery (1932-1937), National Academy of Design (1933-1934),  Cincinnati Art Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Phillips MillPhiladelphia Art Club, Philadelphia Sketch Club, and The New Jersey State Museum. His work is in the collection of The James A. Michener and Woodmere Art Museums as well as many private and institutional collections.

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