Franz Bader was an important presence on the Washington art scene. He believed his role as a gallery owner was to reveal hidden artistic talent to the public. He wanted to continue this work after his death and decided, with his wife, Virginia, to establish a fund to help mature artists to continue working to develop their talent.

Franz and Virginia Bader

Franz Bader was born in Vienna in 1903. His mother was a painter, and his father owned a flour business. Franz became a bookseller and by the mid-1930s owned the oldest bookstore in Vienna, the Wallishausser'sche Buchhandlung. Following the German annexation of Austria in March 1938, Franz, like other Jews, lost his business, and he and his first wife, Antonia, known as Tony, were fortunate to escape to the United States.

On arriving in Washington, D.C., Franz worked in James Whyte's bookstore, selling foreign language books and maps as well as modern art. After the war, Franz opened his own art gallery, where he also sold art and foreign language books. Tony Bader died in 1966, and in 1971 Franz married Virginia Forman.

Franz Bader died in 1994. Virginia Bader died in 2001. The Franz Bader Bookstore finally closed in 2007.


Click here for a Memoir of Franz and Virginia Bader

Bader Book Store

In 1953 Bader opened his own art gallery and bookshop at 1705 G Street, NW. The Franz Bader Gallery had various addresses over the years, including two on Pennsylvania Avenue. It was located at 2001 Eye Street, NW, at the time of Bader's retirement. It continued to operate, moving to 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue around 1987, and then to 1500 K Street in 1990. It closed in 1995. The Franz Bader Bookstore was bought by one of Bader's employees and continued to operate at 1911 Eye Street, NW, closing in fall 2007.