Meadowlark Gallery: The Artist Biographies

Walter E. Bohl
Walter E. Bohl was born on September 10, 1907 in Columbus, Wisconsin where he loved to hunt and fish with his drawing as a secondary interest especially in the areas of birds, animals, and outdoor scenes. In 1930, he was working for the Illinois Bell Telephone Company in Chicago when he became seriously ill and had to leave his work. During a long convalescence he began drawing in pen and ink. The manager of the Marshal Field Picture Gallery was impressed but there was no market for the pen and inks but he suggested etchings. Walter Bohl made a press from a discarded clothes wringer, improvising a graver that was a darning needle set into a fiber handle, and getting his copper from a hardware store and polishing it by hand. His first plate was a small drypoint but later in 1935 his work was reproduced for the first time in American Field to illustrate a story by William C. Hazelton. The next year he illustrated a book called Supreme Duck Shooting Stories. In 1934, Walter Bohl made ten small etchings of interesting scenes at Chicago's Century of Progress. That July he displayed his etchings at an outdoor show with about three hundred artists. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt stopped to see the show and bought the work of two artists of whom one was by Walter Bohl. Later Esquire Magazine discovered his work. In November of 1935, he produced a double page spread for Esquire Magazine. In a few five years and with no formal art training, his work was firmly established in the etching market. In 1941, he began doing watercolors and Esquire began publishing them monthly. Walter Bohl was selected to do the 1943 Federal Duck Stamp design.
View high resolution images of works by Walter E. Bohl when available.