Bernhard Epple was a passionate and devoted proponent of art education as a crucial part of general education that should not be aimed only “at a small group of talented students”, but to allow students of different capabilities to participate in the creative process. He actively participated in the International Congress for Art Education which took place in Basel Switzerland in 1958 (see his article about the Congress in the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, 23 August 1958). As one of his former students, a pilot by profession said “Epple taught me to look at things carefully.”
After graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe (Staatliche Akademie fur Bildende Kunste-State Academy for Fine Arts) Germany, in 1938 with a degree roughly equivalent to a Masters degree (Staatsexamen fur das Lehrfach Bildende Kunst and Hoheren Schulen) that entitled him to teach fine arts at academic high schools. He was appointed as a junior teacher (Sudienassistent) at an academic high school in Mannheim, when he was drafted in late 1939. After a brief time as a Russian prisoner of war he returned home in October 1945 and resumed his teaching career at a different school in Mannheim. In 1951 he was able to get a position at the Kurfurst-Friedrich-Gymnasium in Heidelberg. He was promoted several times to earn the title of Gymasialprofessor which entitled him to supervise beginning art teachers. He retired in 1978. In 1958 he was appointed as fine arts instructor at the University of Heidelberg, a position he held until his retirement in 1991.
In addition to his teaching obligations, Epple designed costumes and sets for plays performed by the Kurfurst-Friedrich Gymnasium and posters for the Heidelberg municipal theater. Below is an example of his designs for “The Birds” by Aristophanes
In I958 Epple was appointed “Art Instructor” at the University of Heidelberg. The position was designed to provide “art education” for students in other disciplines (The University of Heidelberg did not offer degrees in art, only art history). In this capacity, Epple taught several courses, including “Drawing”, “Painting”, and “Print-Graphic.” He retired from this position in 1991.