August F. Biehle

(1885 - 1979)

North America, American

The son of a German decorator who immigrated to Cleveland in 1880, Biehle continued the family tradition, supporting himself as a decorator and later, a lithographer. He studied in Munich at the Kunstgewerbeschule (1903-1905), an arts and crafts school, and at the Royal Academy (1911), where he sketched and painted outdoors with a group of landscape artists in the nearby village of Dachau. Biehle’s European studies exposed him to styles including Jugendstil (the German equivalent of Art Nouveau), Expressionism and Fauvism. Instrumental in introducing Cleveland artists to European modernism, Biehle brought back a copy of the Blue Rider Almanac to the share with the Kokoon Arts Club, including members Henry Keller and William Sommer. Biehle transitioned deftly between styles and mediums, applying the knowledge he gained in Europe to Northeast Ohio subject matter, including industrial scenes of Cleveland and rural landscapes. In the 1930s, the influence of Cubism surfaced in Biehle’s work, evident in the artist’s brightly colored compositions broken into planes.

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