In Memoriam: Bruce Bachmann

Bruce Bachmann

AACG past president and Honors awardee Bruce Bachmann, a champion of contemporary glass, passed away on March 22 at his home in Highland Park, IL. Bruce gave so much to the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass, as well as to the contemporary glass movement. He served as president from 2003-2005, and continued to serve AACG actively on its board and advisory council up until his death. Collectors of contemporary glass art since 1987, Bruce and his wife, Ann, who passed away in 2013, donated more than 400 pieces to The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Part of the collection went on exhibit in October inside the museum, and the rest of the collection will be open to the public in May in a newly refurbished building in Greenfield Village that has been made into a gallery for display of the Bachmann collection. An event on Saturday, April 29, will celebrate the opening of the collection. Works from the Bachmann collection have been shown at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art in Evanston on the Northwestern University campus, and the Chazen Museum on the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison, Wisconsin, from which both Bruce and Ann graduated (and where they met). In 2003, Ann and Bruce were honored by the National Liberty Museum with the “Hero of Liberty” award.

Bruce started his career with his family business, Polk Bros., in Chicago, then went into real estate in 1969 where he spent most of his career. He was a founding board member of Polk Bros. Foundation whose mission is to improve the quality of life for Chicago families and to make Chicago a place where all people have the opportunity to reach their full potential. The Foundation partners with local nonprofit organizations that work to reduce the impact of poverty and provide access to quality education, preventive health care and basic human services. During Bruce’s 29-year tenure on the board, the foundation supported more than 3,000 nonprofits with nearly $400 million.

Bruce and Ann were also deeply involved in supporting the development and fundraising of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. They were honored in 2011 by the museum for their dedication to Holocaust remembrance and education, and were also supporters of the Illinois Holocaust Museum. Among the many boards on which Bruce served were the board of Navy Pier in Chicago and Roosevelt University.

Bruce is survived by his four children and four grandchildren. He will be dearly missed by the contemporary glass community.