Otto Stark was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1859. Apprenticed to a lithographer, Stark studied at the University of Cincinnati School of Design before moving to New York to work as an illustrator. Further study followed in Paris at the Academie Julian. Stark met with success in Paris, exhibiting twice at the prestigious Salon. Returning to the U.S. with his French wife and daughter, the Starks settled in first in New York and later Philadelphia, where Otto painted and sold illustrations to eastern Publications. When his wife died following the birth of their fourth child, Otto Stark returned to Indiana, where he exhibited with T.C. Steele, Richard Gruelle, and William Forsyth during the 1890’s. Needing a steady income for his family, Stark took a number of teaching positions in Indianapolis until he could finally devote himself to painting full-time in 1919. With his children grown, Otto Stark spent a good deal of his time painting with his friend, J. Ottis Adams, until he suffered a stroke in 1926 from which he would not recover.