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Biographical Note | A Finding Aid to the Karl Theodore Francis Bitter papers, 1887-circa 1977 | Digitized Collection

Karl Theodore Francis Bitter papers, 1887-circa 1977

Biographical Note

Austrian-born sculptor Karl Bitter (1867-1915) was active in New York City, New York. He exhibited his works at worldwide expositions and examples of his sculpture and memorials can be found throughout the United States.
Karl Theodore Francis Bitter was born in Vienna, Austria, where he trained as a sculptor. While serving in the Austrian military in 1889, Bitter immigrated to the United States and applied for citizenship. Ultimately, Bitter settled in New York City and worked as an assistant in a home decorating firm while establishing his reputation as a sculptor. After winning a 1930 competition to design the Astor memorial bronze gates at Trinity Church, he used the funds to establish a small studio on 13th Street, which he shared with fellow sculptor Giuseppe Moretti. Bitter quickly established himself as a world-famous scuptor who also specialized in private memorials and works for public buildings.
After working as a sculptor at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and as director at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York in 1901, Bitter was named head of the sculpture programs at both the 1904 St. Louis Exposition and the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco, California.
Bitter was awarded the silver medal of the Paris Exposition, 1900; the gold medal of the Pan-American Exposition, 1901; and the gold medal at the St. Louis Exposition, 1904. He was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Design, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Players' Club, Century Club, and the Architectural League.
Karl Bitter married Marie Sherrill with whom he had three children. He died suddenly in 1915 after being struck by a car.