Oscar Florianus Bluemner
Form and Light, Motif in West New Jersey (1914), Hunter Museum of American Art
June 21, 1867|
|Died||January 12, 1938
South Braintree, Massachusetts
Bluemner moved to Chicago in 1893 where he freelanced as a draftsman at the World's Columbian Exposition. After the exposition, he attempted to find work in Chicago. In 1901, Bluemner relocated to New York City where he also could not find steady employment. In 1903, he created the winning design for the Bronx Borough Courthouse in New York, although it is credited to Michael J. Garvin. The scandal took down borough president Louis Haffen for corruption and fraud. He had pushed Garvin's earlier appointment as buildings supervisor.
In 1908 he met Alfred Stieglitz, who introduced him to the artistic innovations of the European and American avant-garde. By 1910, Bluemner had decided to pursue painting full-time rather than architecture.
He exhibited in the 1913 Armory Show. Then in 1915 Stieglitz gave him a solo exhibition at his gallery, 291. Despite participating in several exhibitions, including solo shows, for the next ten years Bluemner failed to sell many paintings and lived with his family in near-poverty.
After his wife’s death in 1926, Bluemner moved to South Braintree, Massachusetts. He committed suicide on January 12, 1938.
Stetson University holds more than 1,000 pieces of Oscar Bluemner's work bequeathed in 1997 by his daughter, Vera Bluemner Kouba. Often overlooked in his lifetime, Bluemner now is widely acknowledged as a key player in the creation of American artistic Modernism, with better-known colleagues such as Georgia O'Keeffe and John Marin.
An oil painting by Bluemner, Illusion of a Prairie, New Jersey (Red Farm at Pochuck) (1915) sold at Christie's, New York, for $5,346,500 on November 30, 2011.
|1932||Imagination, casein with ground watercolors (prepared by the artist) on paper board||view||Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.||IAP 08260662|
- Haskell 2005, p. 11
- Haskell 2005, p. 204
- Corley, Erin (1960). A Finding Aid to the Oscar Bluemner Papers, 1886-1939. Archives of American Art.
-  Landmarks Preservation Commission June 22, 2010, Designation List 430 LP-2388
- Haskell, Barbara (2005). Oscar Bluemner: A Passion for Color. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art.
- Archives of American Art (1988). Reliable Sources: a selection of letters, sketches, and photographs from the Archives of American Art. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. pp. 14–15.
- Haskell, Barbara. Oscar Bluemner: A Passion for Color. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art (2005).
- Hayes, Jeffrey Russell. Oscar Bluemner. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1991).
- Tonelli, Edith A. (1990). "The Avant-Garde in Boston: The Experiment of the WPA Federal Art Project". Archives of American Art Journal 30 (1-4): 41–47.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oscar Bluemner.|
- The Oscar Bluemner Papers Online includes digitized primary source biographical material, correspondence, diaries, writings, exhibition catalogs, and other printed material held by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
- Oscar Florianus Bluemner Biography - Hollis Taggart Galleries
- The Vera Bluemner Kouba Collection - Stetson University