Marian Ruth Bode (1915 - 2005)

Birth date: 1/29/1915 Death date: 2/22/2005  
Birth location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Death location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin  
Media: Graphic Art , Painting , Textile Web site:
Comprehensive (file rating) - Major Wisconsin artist file that includes comprehensive documentation on artist's life that can be researched on site at MWA.


Marian Ruth Bode
Born 1915, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Died 2005, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

An important influence in the development of art education in Wisconsin,  Marian Bode had a distinguished career as a visual artist and teacher. After graduating from Shorewood High School, she earned her bachelor and master degrees in art education from Milwaukee State Teachers College, now the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She taught on the faculty of Milwaukee Downer College, the University of Dubuque, Iowa, Winona State College in Minnesota and at the State University of New York in Buffalo.

For eight summers she was an instructor at the Ox-Bow Summer School of Painting in Saugatuck, Michigan. From 1939-1941 she participated in the Milwaukee Handicraft Project, part of the WPA federal art project, teaching useful work to unskilled women. Seeking to affirm the importance of watercolor painting as a major art medium, she co-founded, with Emily Groom, the Wisconsin Watercolor Society in 1952.

A member of Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors and Wisconsin Designer Craftsmen, Miss Bode produced hundreds of paintings and won several awards for them in exhibitions in Milwaukee and around the country.  Her joy in the use of watercolors resulted in a free style using vivid contrasting colors. Also a specialist in textile design, her silkscreen and block prints referenced organic subject matter or geometric elements in varied color schemes.

Selected One-Person Exhibitions

1955 Milwaukee Downer College, Chapman Gallery
1959  Charles Allis Art Museum, Milwaukee 
1962  Jewish community Center, Milwaukee 
1963  Union Gallery, State University of New York, Buffalo 
1964  Watercolor League of Western New York Exhibition ,Upton Gallery, Buffalo,New York
1969  Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Michigan 
1972  Bradley Gallery, Milwaukee 
1973 Wilcox Mansion Gallery, Buffalo, New York
1981 Burchfield Center, Western New York Forum for American Art, State University of New York
1983 Daniel Smith Gallery, Prescott, Wisconsin

Selected Group Exhibitions

1950-1959 Wisconsin Painters and Sculptors Annual juried exhibitions, Milwaukee Art Center
1955-1987  Wisconsin Watercolor Society annual invitational exhibitions, Milwaukee 
1961 Wisconsin Heritage Exhibition Invitational, Jewish Community Center, Milwaukee
1966 30th Western New York Exhibition, Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York
1967  University Artists Exhibition, Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York
1970  University Research Fellowship Awards Exhibition, Burchfield Center, State University College, Buffalo, New York
1976  Bicentennial Exhibition of State of Wisconsin, A Century Plus of Wisconsin Watercolors, museums, galleries, colleges in Wisconsin
1976-78 Patteran Artists Society Exhibitions, New York
1980-83 Milwaukee Museum of Art, Cudahy Gallery of Wisconsin Art
1985 Exhibition 100- A Century of Alumni Art, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
1986 Ozaukee Art Center, Spring, Fall Exhibitions, Cedarburg, Wisconsin (also 1988)
1989 Charles Allis Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Marian Bode, resumes, archives

An Artist With a Warm, Sensitive Style, Milw Journal, 1/7/62

A Century Plus of Wisconsin Watercolors

WI Watercolor Society Bulletin, 1989

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