For The Love of Art

Watercolor painting by Frank A. Pietrucha

This tribute to master watercolorist Frank A. Pietrucha (1926 – 2014) highlights the mainstay of his seven-decade career–landscapes and architectural scenes. These paintings reveal the unique way he saw the world, in a delightful and often humorous manner. With utmost enthusiasm and devotion, he painted lively scenes of Bermuda, Europe, New England, Cape May, and other historic and nonspecific places in New Jersey, where he lived before moving to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 2013. This exhibition also features his distinctive curvilinear paper sculptures and oil paintings.

Pietrucha’s paintings gleam with color: Watercolor pigments are typically transparent and appear luminous, as light is reflected off of the white paper. An impeccable draftsman, Pietrucha’s brushwork ranges from tight and linear to loose and painterly. The challenging medium of watercolor was popular when Pietrucha went to art school in the 1940s. Like many artists, he kept the style he initially mastered and ignored trends. His paintings are classics. Working from both a professional and personal perspective, the artist’s daughter, Dr. Diane P. Fischer, curated this exhibition.


Born in Newark, New Jersey, Frank Pietrucha was the sixth of seven children of Polish immigrant parents who were devoutly Catholic, patriotic, hardworking, and loving. The family prospered financially until they lost their construction business during the Great Depression of 1929. Throughout his school years, Frank was dedicated to becoming an artist. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Occupation after World War II, Pietrucha attended the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art (1947 – 1949). Because it was so close to New York City, the school attracted excellent teachers. Before he graduated, Frank was recruited to work as an art director for a design firm. In 1956, Frank married Dorothy Bol, a popular banker and singer. They raised three children in their home in West Orange, New Jersey. It was not until 1973, when he opened his own business at home, that Pietrucha had time to pursue fine art zealously. He was prolific, exhibiting in numerous group and thirteen one-person exhibitions. A member of the highly selective New Jersey Watercolor Society, his work is represented in numerous private collections as well as at the Montclair Art Museum and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University.