Monday, January 22, 2007

Pencil Artist Needs Tracing

Swiss-born Ferdinand Brader made his living as an itinerant artist, drawing pictures of Pennsylvania and Ohio farms in the 1880s and '90s in exchange for room and board. One of his drawings sold for $62,250 at auction, which would buy a considerable amount of room and board.

Brader’s meticulous graphite pencil representations of family farms in this area are both realistic and idealistic.

Men, women and children plow fields on horseback. Others tend to crops of vegetables and bales of hay. Brader also was known to draw himself (a la Alfred Hitchcock later) into his pictures, talking to the farm owner, sitting under a tree, or wherever else he might fit in. [Link]
I suppose I should mention the second part of the story, in case there are any genealogists reading this. No one knows what became of Brader. The article says that he was born in 1833 in Switzerland, and "spent at least some time at the former Portage County Infirmary, where he suffered from mental or physical problems, or both." No death record or gravestone has been found. Anyone care to take up the search?

Darwin D. Bearley

I have taken up the search. In fact, all the published information, what little there is, is from my efforts.
I first got interested in this artist back in the 1970's when the Akron Art Institute had an exhibition entitled "Folk Art From Ohio Collections". They showed a Brader Drawing and I was instantly hooked. It took me quite a few years to find one for myself but while looking, I found quite a bit of information on the artist. I am still on the hunt for both his pictures and information about the artist. Any person with pictures or information, regardless of how insignificant it may seem, is encouraged to contact me at
Thank you,

Darwin D. Bearley

Darwin D. Bearley

Please check out my web site devoted to Brader:


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