John Baeder

b. 1938

John Baeder (b.1938, South Bend, IN) is celebrated for his detailed paintings of iconic American roadside diners and eateries. Born in Indiana and raised in Georgia, his interest in small towns began as a young boy living and travelling in the American South. In the late 1950s, Baeder attended Auburn University, AL making frequent road trips between the campus and Atlanta, GA that further piqued his curiosity in roadside diners and rural landscapes. In 1960, he began working as an art director for a New York-based advertising agency, eventually moving to the city in 1964. After building up a successful career, Baeder eventually left advertising in 1972 to pursue his artistic ambition full-time. 


Showing an unwavering dedication to representing the diner, a uniquely American icon that was disappearing from the landscape, Baeder manages to transport the viewer to a bygone age; his pictures have an indefinable nostalgia that evokes a simpler time. His interest in this aspect of declining American culture was spurred on by the photographs of Berenice Abbott and Walker Evans, discovered while visiting the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the late 1960s. Around the same time, he began collecting postcards of gas stations, motels, campsites and diners, haunted by the quickly changing and soon disappearing roadside views. In addition to his own photographs, these postcards provided Baeder with valuable source material. 

Since his first solo presentation in 1972, Baeder has had more than thirty solo exhibitions, including at the key galleries to pioneer Photorealist painting in that era, the Louis K. Meisel Gallery and OK Harris Gallery, both located in New York. His work has also been included in critical institutional exhibitions. In 2007, the Morris Museum of Art, GA, organised a travelling retrospective exhibition of his work, Pleasant Journeys and Good Eats Along the Way: The Paintings of John Baeder. Other significant group exhibitions include HyperAmerica: Landscape - Image - Reality, Kunsthaus Graz, Austria (2015); Hyperrealismo 1967-2013, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, Spain (2015) and the touring exhibition Photorealism: 50 Years of Hyperrealistic Painting (2013-2017), which opened in Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany before moving to 10 locations including Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, UK; and Tampa Museum of Art, Florida. 

John Baeder currently lives in Nashville, TN. 

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Exhibitions and Art Fairs