Fritz Renato Bachmeyr was born in 1944 in Munich, Germany. His father, Friedrich Bachmeyr, came from an old Bavarian family dating back to the 16 the century. His mother was Baroness Von Glockenbach.
At the age of 12, after discovering his natural talent for music and drawing, his family enrolled him into the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, Italy. He studied there for 5 summer semesters under the guidance of Italian, German and Austrian old-master painters such as Karl Stutz, Herbert Lieber and Antonio Brazzo. At the age of 17 his paintings were recognized as an exemplary talent by his peers and was hailed by his tutors as an up and coming young master painter and draftsman. He finished his apprenticeship in Italy and exhibited his work in Milano, Munich and Vienna until 1962.
In 1963, at the age of 19, Fritz Renato Bachmeyr immigrated to the United States of America, joining his grandmother, Baroness Von Glockenbach, in New York City. He was employed as a painting restorer, painter and jazz drummer until getting drafted into the United States Army in 1967. He served honorably in Vietnam and Germany until 1969.
In 1970 Fritz moved to Nevada where he performed for many years as a Big Band Drummer in places like Harrah’s and MGM Casinos in Reno, Harvey’s in Lake Tahoe, Dunes in Las Vegas and John Assuages Nugget Casino in Sparks, Nevada. In the mid-seventies Fritz joined the Cal Neva Casino Enterprise management staff until striking out on his own and became part owner in several casinos until his semi-retirement in 1995 due to poor health.
In the 25 years in the casino business Fritz never lost his passion for painting. Despite his hectic and demanding life style he never missed an opportunity to paint and managed to ‘throw some paint on the canvas on a daily basis” or as he calls it “paint a mile a day to keep my beast at bay”. Henceforth he produced over several thousand paintings and is well known in the art scene for not only as a fellow painter, but a benefactor to many struggling artists. He never misses an opportunity for fundraising, promoting, lecturing and supporting the art of old master painting.
Unfortunately the art of old master painting is a dying art. Finding old- master painters in the world today is very rare indeed in comparison to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries when Europe produced a prolific community of master painters.
But why is that you may ask? Well there are many reasons and sadly the most immediate reason is that our universities spend millions of dollars on modern art and zero dollars on old master art. The reason being that these young professors in charge of the arts simply do not have the expertise of 5,000 to 10,000 hours of practice and experience to teach the old master craft. And why should they? This is not the 19th century when most European universities and some American universities were blessed with art professors in there 60 and 70s who were accomplished painters in their own right and taught a brand new generation of master painters. That link is broken. Most master painters today are either self taught or family oriented business and doing quite well on their own.
Thinking back today of my childhood years with those intimidating old art teachers with their gruff voices and grizzly beards, drilling into my brain the discipline and demand this craft requires, brings the realization that all those gentlemen have been long gone; but what remains are their paintings.
ABOUT HIS ARTWORK AND PAINTINGS
As a child growing up in Munich in post-war Germany Fritz was very much influenced by the Italian trained church painters that painted the magnificent church ceilings and frescos in the many towns surrounding the city. These small town Baroque churches that peppered the Bavarian countryside were an endless museum of ambitious artworks of yesteryear done in a steady master hand like Rubens, except depicting religious subject matters. It was the paintings in these Baroque church ceilings and artistic sculptures of the Asam brothers that inspired Fritz into I life long passion for the arts. It was also a refuge from the realities of post-war Germany. For him it blocked out all the ugliness, misery, death and destruction that was the adult world around him. Very few people alive today could comprehend a world with that kind of total destruction.
From a very early age Fritz was drawn to the old masters. He quickly learned the difference between the Royal Court painters, like Titian, who painted for the Emperor Charles V, and Tintoretto, who painted for the Church; more particularly the Pope. The preponderance of Fritz’s early works were copying all of the old masters, or as they say in the trade, “in the school of . . .” Copying the old masters was good enough for Rubens, who copied Rembrandt, so it certainly was good enough for Fritz. Until immigrating to the United State at the age of 19 he copied several hundred times over most all the classic and allegorical paintings of the approximately thirty 16th and 17th century Italian masters.
In his 20s Fritz became fascinated with all the American painters and spent a decade studying them, focusing on the European influence on their techniques and visa versa. In that 10 year period Fritz produced conservatively a thousand heirloom paintings which were greatly influenced by the American masters ranging from John Singleton to John Singer Sergeant to Albert Bierstadt, and the Hudson River Valley School. His passion for American old masters never diminished and into his 40s he painted well over another thousand paintings.
At 45 Fritz became increasingly interested in the public’s interest in FAKE paintings. Particularly of interest to him were the collectors’ interest in spotting fake paintings and museums’ frustrations in buying fake paintings for millions of dollars. Fritz spent a decade studying forgeries, interviewing forgers all over the world and studying their techniques, preparations, presentations and victims. He also gave lectures and seminars on painting forgeries.
The world of art forgery is very real, very subtle, and more than not unreported due to the embarrassment and inconvenience, despite the fact that forgery losses are usually in the 5 to 6 figures. Being a passionate collector himself Fritz has accompanied many private collectors to major auction houses to help confirm and authenticate old master paintings. Having practiced the forgers techniques many hundreds of times by painting fake paintings it would indeed be very unlikely to fool Fritz’s scrutiny and expert eye.
All through his 50s Fritz became fascinated with the French Barbizon period and all the Barbizon painters. He even visited the county of Barbizon outside of Paris and lived for several months in the very same environment as his 19th century counterpart painters. In addition he studied most of the 19th century British, French, German and Dutch salon painters, including the 17th century French painter Nicolas de’Largilliere.
Since moving to Spokane with his wife to be closer to their children and grandchildren, Fritz paints portraits and Idaho, Washington, and Cascade Mountain landscapes, as well as many classical and allegorical academic paintings. He has managed up to date to produce over 7,000 paintings in the fifty plus years of honing his craft.
If Fritz has learned one thing in his years of painting it is that the art is a never ending learning experience, and it’s demands of excellence is a constant pressure that is self evident in each and every painting. He would like to leave this thought for all the future painters: “In art there is no perfection, only the constant need of the artist to perfect what nature can do effortlessly“.