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Byron Bradley (1923 - 2016)
Byron Bradley was born in Anoka, Minnesota. He grew up in Minneapolis and attended public school. He became interested in art as a child and attended classes at the Minneapolis Institute of Art for a year. His life direction took him away from art until 1944 when he began classes at the Minneapolis School of Art. He studied under Gustav Krollman, among others, and graduated in 1949. Awarded the Vanderlip Scholarship, he attended the Skowegan School of Painting in Maine for a summer where he studied with Henry Varnum Poor. He also traveled and studied in Europe with classmates Robert Kilbride, Tom Mickelson, and Dave Ratner. When he returned to Minneapolis, he found it necessary to work at other jobs to support his painting.
He established the Kilbride Bradley Gallery with Robert Kilbride in 1951, and did layout and illustrations for The Potboiler, the newsletter which represented the Gallery's public relations. In 1953, he began teaching drawing at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He also became involved in teaching at the Grand Marais Art Colony with Birney Quick. He and Quick continued to run the Colony after the Minneapolis College of Art and Design discontinued its association with it.
In 1968, Kilbride and Bradley split off the art supply business from the gallery and he opened his own store, KB Art Supplies, while continuing to teach at the Minnetonka Art Center and the Grand Marais Art Colony. Shortly after Quick's death in 1981, Bradley disengaged from the Colony, putting his energy into the successful running of his store and his own work as an artist.
Bradley was 93 when he died in Grand Marais on June 5, 2016. An artist, teacher, mentor and entrepreneur, he played a crucial role in the formation of Minnesota artists over several decades.