One of many new year resolutions: see more art exhibits. Yesterday I kicked off the new me by visiting the Whitney Museum for the first time in a long time. I particularly enjoyed the latest exhibit American Legends: From Calder to O'Keeffe. One great personal discovery was the work of Oscar Bluemner. Somehow I completely missed him during my art history education (probably too focused on nerdy Italian Renaissance) and was inspired to see a good selection of his work for the first time. I wouldn't say it's rare that artwork speaks to me on a visceral and personal level, in fact quite the opposite, but I would say it's rare that it speaks so loudly and directly. I found this repeatedly with Bluemner's works on display and fell a little in love. Maybe a lot in love. What I would give to have one of these pieces at home to reinvigorate me daily. This German-born modernist painter in my opinion could be categorized as an American Fauvist, using bright colors and dramatic combinations to express emotion. Let's just say were he in France at the time he might have had more success. Intensely personal, full of high drama and stunning color combinations, many of his works were actually inspired by New York and New Jersey scenes where he lived as an adult. Plus, he's sort of a classic tortured artist: bouts of poverty, minimal recognition, all ending in a tragic death. Why is that so intriguing? The purity of art at all cost? He also drafted at the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exhibition, befriended Alfred Stieglitz, rocked the 1913 Armory show with his bold paintings, and sported a pretty huge mustache. So cool. I came across this great quote in response to the critics of his work in the Armory show: I wish to convey not the reproduction of nature for the sake of sentiment or accuracy, but perhaps like the musician' I want to create freely, artistically. Amen, brother. Below, please enjoy some examples of his work, and if you have the time I recommend seeing this exhibit live along with the work of O'Keeffe, Calder (still love the Circus!), and Demuth to name a few.
"We carry in our mind a will for certain tones, colors, lines, forms, distances, rhythms not caused by visual experience . . . but if we cannot project these imaginative feeling visions upon life [as] conceivable to our senses (eye) . . and bound up with our sympathies, we cannot [evoke] similar specific sentiments in others." - Oscar Bluemner