An admirer and collector of the etchings of Rembrandt, painter Otto Henry Bacher was known as one of the earliest American Impressionists and was noted for the high quality of his own etchings, many that are now in the Library of Congress.
He had studied privately for a year, attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts for an even shorter span and then returned to his hometown of Cleveland where he served on the board of the Cleveland Academy of the Fine Arts and first took up etching.
In 1878 he headed to Europe where he enrolled in the Munich Academy and soon became one of American artist Frank Duveneck's "boys". He would take a painting excursion to Venice and open a studio along with his fellow classmates from Munich.
He and Duveneck, along with several others, took up etching seriously, and created the first American monotypes. Bacher had his own press, along with a growing collection of Rembrandt etchings, and this drew the attention of James MacNeil Whistler, who was also in the city. He made frequent visits to Bacher's studio, and the two were soon close friends.
He traveled Italy for two years, making etchings of the sights and scenery and exhibiting in America and England. When he returned home in 1883 he set up a studio and began taking students. This was not financially fruitful and he returned to France in 1885, but ended up traveling through Paris and Venice before returning to New York in 1888.
He settled into a career as a printmaker and illustrator and was successful working with magazines and submitting his etchings to exhibitions and competitions. He was a regular exhibitor of oil and watercolor Impressionist landscapes at the National Academy of Design and the Society of American Artists shows as well.