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|Born||May 12, 1905|
|Died||July 25, 1990(aged 85)|
|Training||Maryland Institute College of Art|
Leonard Marion Bahr (May 12, 1905 – July 25, 1990) was a prolific painter of portraits and murals, an illustrator, as well as a highly regarded painting professor for 52 years at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).
In 1930, Leonard started his professional painting career while still a student, beginning with two portraits of Baltimore's Mayor Preston. Leonard, a Christian, painted Biblical themes throughout his life. Among them was a commission for an altar painting of "Christ at Gethsemane," which was installed in Our Savior's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lansdowne. Also, a book of his drawings depicting the "23rd Psalm of David" was illustrated and published in 1933.
It is important to Baltimore history that Leonard also painted murals for the Works Progress Administration, including two for the Baltimore Municipal Aquarium at Druid Hill Park, and two for the Catonsville High School, depicting the marriage of Polly Caton and the rolling of tobacco by slaves along Rolling Road to the Elkridge Landing seaport. Though the Catonsville murals were mysteriously destroyed, the preliminary drawing for that mural is held at the Smithsonian.
His service as Lt. Commander in the Navy during World War II, included illustrating Navy life for various military magazines. His career as a portraitist included commissions of Bishop Noble C. Powell, various doctors and administrators at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and other prominent individuals. The State of Maryland commissioned him to replicate the historical portrait, by John Wollaston, of Daniel Carroll to be installed at the State House. Leonard served on art boards and juries and exhibited his work widely, winning many prizes for his artistic eye.
In 1980, Leonard retired from MICA with honors for service, and a few years later was subsequently filmed for a video entitled "A Painter's Portrait." Leonard's history and artworks have been published and are privately and corporately owned nationally, including the University of Arizona, the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Elkridge Heritage Society, to name a few. There is a series of photos at the Maryland Historical Society, of Leonard painting outdoors, photographed by family friend and Maryland photographer Emily Hayden.
As an artist, professor, father, and husband (of Florence E. Riefle, whom he married in 1934), Leonard was a humble man who saw the best in most people and sought the understanding of higher truth to life's situations and challenges. Leonard died of heart failure July 25, 1990.
Publishments include: American Artist, The Appalachian South, Gardens Houses and People, The Baltimore Sun Magazine, and the Baltimore Sun.
References online containing specifics about the lives and art of Leonard and Florence Riefle Bahr include: "findagrave.com"; "sailor.com"; "mhs.org"; "mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/speccol"; "mdartsource.com"; "medicalarchives.jhmi.edu"; and "cooldaddio.net," as well as other source sites.
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