Baker Art Gallery

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Baker Art Gallery (American Photography Studio, 1863-1955) was a national and internationally recognized photography studio out of Columbus, OH and specialized in portrait and commercial photography, genre scenes and specialty art-photography. Some of their most famous clientele included Presidents McKinley, Hayes, Taft & Harding, as well as many prominent political leaders, military personnel, theatre personalities and other famous notables such as Annie Oakley, actress Grace Arnold and actor Robert Drociet among others.

Lorenzo Marvin Baker (American, 1834-1924) was the founder of the Baker Art Gallery and four generations of the Baker family ran the business until 1955. His son’s Duane Henry (American. 1859-1934) and Lorenzo N. (American, 1861-1906) were both photographers as well and helped run the family business. Duane was made partner in 1878 and was joined by the one of their principal photographers John Samuel Schneider (American, 1860-1926) who was made partner around 1886. Duane owned a third of the business as well as Schneider, and the youngest son Lorenzo N. was never made a partner. Lorenzo N. only worked for his father’s studio from 1880’s-1890 where he then opened his own business in Pique, (Miami County), OH.

The company became quite famous and won many prestigious awards for their work. Nearly thirty 1st & 2nd Prizes went to Lorenzo M. between 1874-1886 at the Ohio State Fairs for photos of every description, including photos finished in watercolor & ink. Other prominent awards included the Gold Medal in 1889 with the Photographers’ Association of America, Gold Medal at the Semi-Centennial at Boston, MA, the Highest Award in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair, the Grand Prize in 1897 with the Photographers’ Association of Germany, as well as other awards in Sweden, Italy, France and England.

Circa the 1890’s, the company began specializing in commercial photography and genre scenes with several pieces shown at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (prize) and at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900. Originally the company was located at 197 & 199 S. High Street in the city, and on January 26, 1892, the business burned down and they relocated to their 106 S. High & State Streets location. After Lorenzo M. Baker died in 1924, the business continued to remain in the family, and around that same time, Duane H. soon passed the family business on to his son Lorenzo P. Baker (American, 1894-1947). The business moved to a different location circa 1939 at 112 E. Broad Street in the city where they remained until they closed in 1955. The family subsequently donated all their glass & film negatives, and photographs to the Ohio Historical Society.

(Rewritten in parts & compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, meibohmfinearts.com, 01/2011, sources: tatteredandlostphotographs.blogspot.com, Wikipedia; “Historic American Buildings Survey: Baker Art Gallery”, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, DC, oh0018.pdf; books.google.com, online digitized book, Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A Biographical Dictionary, compiled and edited by Mary Sayre Haverstock, Jeannette Mahoney Vance and Brian L. Meggitt, The Kent State University Press, Kent, OH, Pgs. 36-38, 341, 414, 507, 570, 761, & 829, 2000; books.google.com, online digitized book, Centennial History of Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio, Volume 2, by William Alexander Taylor, S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago, IL, Pgs. 771-772, 1909; freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com, Records, “Green lawn Cemetery, Columbus, OH”.)
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