ohn Leo Baker was born in McKees Rocks, PA on March 27, 1927, on Palm Sunday, to Theresa and Nicholas Baker. He was the seventh out of nine children. He had three brothers and five sisters. His family owned and operated The Seven Baker Brothers Bakery in the West End of Pittsburgh.
When John was twelve, his mother enrolled him in St. Joseph’s School of Practical and Fine Arts of East Liberty, Pittsburgh. On Saturdays, when his brothers, sisters and friends were playing, he traveled alone by trolley and bus to East Liberty from McKees Rocks.
In 1946 he received honorable discharge from the army and became a free-lance artist. He enrolled in more classes at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and worked with Jan de Rosen, a well-known European painter. During those nine years, John worked locally; some of his local tributes are Duquesne Chapel, St. Columbkille, Imperial, Sacred Heart Church in Pittsburgh and the statues at Ascension Church in Ingram, Pa. He also traveled & studied in France, Italy, and Spain, all the while creating his artwork.
After returning from Europe, John rekindled his relationship with Nancy Ducci, and they were married in November of 1952. John and Nancy had planned to return to Europe until their first child was born in 1954. John and Nancy had seven children, and 16 grandchildren, who all settled within three miles of his Ara-Appaloosa Horse Farm. Vitriak Hydaway, located in Hickory PA.
John had several passions in life, his family, his religion, his art, and his horses. He was self-employed for forty eight years. Making money or fame did not drive him; he let his passions guide him through his day-to-day life. He continued to paint and ride horses until he was seventy three years old. In August two thousand, John sustained a head injury, which ended his career as an artist. He died on March second two thousand and five, his final resting place is at the Baker Family Cemetery, which he established in the 1980’s.
Opening Reception Nov 17 (time TBD)