Published: October 16, 2001
NEW YORK CITY – An exhibition of nearly 20 paintings by American Modernist Jerome Blum (1884-1956) will be on view at Hollis Taggart Galleries, October 25 to November 17.
“Journeys into Color” showcases Blum’s brilliantly hued compositions from his many travels to exotic locales. The exhibition will open with a reception Thursday, October 25 form 5:30 until 7:30 pm.
Born in Chicago, Blum began his training at the Francis J. Smith Art Academy and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1906 Blum traveled to Paris to further his studies and experience the modern trends in European art, especially fauvism. Blum described his life-changing experiences in Paris, “You go to Paris – you have been in Paris for a few years – you have become modern – you take on color – you leave off brown of the golden ages – you shed your coat of brown for colors of the rainbow – you become another phase of yourself.”
Blum infused his canvases with a saturated palette of Fauve and post-Impressionistic color. His fusion of high coloration with bold forms culminated in rich paintings of landscapes and still lifes. Blum was introduced to the work of Gaugin, Matisse, Cezanne, and according to Blum’s memoirs a painting by Van Gogh affected him deeply and liberated him from his academic training. In Paris Blum also befriended fellow American artists John Marin, Alfred Maurer, Samuel Halpert and sculptor Jo Davidson.
After showing in the Parisian Salons for a few years, Blum returned to Chicago in 1910 where he met writers Theodore Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson and Ben Hecht. Blum remained friends with these writers for many years. In 1911, Blum exhibited his work at the W. Scott Thurber in Chicago where his work was deemed radical in this traditional climate. In 1914 Blum’s work was received more positively than at his showing in the 1913 Armory show.
Through travel and exploration Blum would find artistic inspiration. Over the course of the next 25 years he visited China, Cuba, Corsica, Tunisia, the American West, Tahiti and the South Seas. He would spend time at length in France, particularly in Paris and the small village hill towns in the South of France.
Blum participated in numerous exhibitions in Paris and in New York, including shows at Anderson Galleries, M. Knoedler, and the Whitney Studio Club. He also exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Art, Boston Art Club, Worcester Art Museum, Philadelphia Art Alliance, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Works by Blum are in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
In 1935 Blum was confined to a mental hospital, and though he made frequent appeals to be released, Blum remained institutionalized for the rest of his life. He died at the Hudson River State Hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on July 23, 1956.
Many of the works in this exhibition have never been previously exhibited. An illustrated color catalogue with essay by Ralph Sessions is available. For information, 212-628-4000.
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