Bernard Badura, Untitled (Lambertville Quarry)
The Lambertville Quarry, located about two miles north of the New Jersey town’s center, is still in operation today. It is unusual for the presence of axinite, a ferrous gemstone prized for its rich brown color, vitreous luster, and sharp, axe-like crystalline forms.
Badura, who lived nearby in New Hope, Pennsylvania, depicts an active quarry with a few tiny figures working near a train of stone carriages. He integrates the angular rock shapes with the sharp-edged industrial architecture and machinery. The rhythmically applied charcoal marks, deep shadows, and areas of brilliant luminosity frame what appears to be a hollowed-out mountain. Badura may have been inspired by Paul Cézanne’s great depictions of Mont Sainte-Victoire, an icon of modern art in which the mountain form is a strengthening focus.
After studying at the Milwaukee State Normal School (now the University of Wisconsin), Badura served in the Air Force during World War I, where his drawing skills led to an assignment in Paris in the Army’s drafting and designing department. Upon returning to the US, Badura attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). In 1937, he and his wife, Faye Swengel, moved to New Hope, where they worked together as artists for the rest of their lives. Badura is also known for his hand-carved and hand-gilded picture frames and stained-glass windows. His work is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Allentown Art Museum, among other important public and private collections.