Emil James Bisttram

Buyer Protection Guaranteed


Framed dimensions measure 33 x 37 inches; image measures 32.5 x 36.25 inches.

About the Artist:
Emil Bisttram grew up in the tenements of New York City after his family emigrated from Hungary when he was a young boy. Bisttram studied at Cooper Union, the National Academy of Design, and at the New York School of Fine and Applied Art. During his training, Emil studied under Ivan Olinsky, Leon Kroll, Howard Giles, and Jay Hambidge. Bisttram later taught at the New York School of Fine and Applied Art, Parson's School of Design, and at the Master Institute of the Roerich Museum in New York.

Bisttram opened the nation's first freelance advertising art agency by the age of twenty-one. However, he soon abandoned the business in pursuit of a career in Fine Art.

In 1930, the artist made his first visit to Taos, New Mexico, where he reportedly found himself "blocked" by the open spaces, intense light, and color that define the region. In 1931, he traveled to Mexico where he studied mural painting with Diego Rivera on a Guggenheim Fellowship. While Emil was in Mexico, his wife lived in Taos where the couple established permanent residence upon his return.

In Taos, Bisttram opened the area's first commercial art gallery, the Heptagon Gallery. He also founded the avante-garde Taos School of Art, later known as the Bisttram School of Fine Art.

In 1934, Bisttram was among artists selected to paint murals for the Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.). While commissioned by the W.P.A., Bisttram worked on murals in the County Courthouse in Taos and he completed a mural in the Justice Department Building in Washington, D.C.

Although he continued with representational painting, much of Bisttram's work in the late 1930's became increasingly abstract. Along with Raymond Jonson and seven other artists, Bisttram founded the Transcendental Painting Group in 1938. The group's goal was to "carry painting beyond the appearance of the physical world."

Exhibited: Philadelphia Watercolor Club, 1926 (prize), 1931 (medal); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1926-28, 1933, 1941, 1954; American Watercolor Society, 1927 (prize), 1930 (prize), 1931 (prize); Art Institute of Chicago; Corcoran Gallery, 1932, 1935; Whitney Museum of American Art, 1951; Martin Diamond Fine Art, 1984.
Works held: Roerich Museum, New York; Albright Art Gallery; Taos County Courthouse; Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. (mural); United States Post Office, Ranger, Texas (mural).

Further Reading: Art in New Mexico, 1900-1945: Paths to Taos and Santa Fe, Charles C. Eldredge, Julie Schimmel & William H. Truettner, published by Abbeville Press, New York for the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1986.; The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West, Peggy and Harold Samuels, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1976.; Modernist Themes in New Mexico: Works by Early Modernist Painters, Barbara G. Bell, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1989.; Taos Artists and Their Patrons, 1898-1950, Dean A. Porter, Tessa Hayes Ebie and Suzan Campbell, Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, 1999.; Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America, Vol. 1. Peter Hastings Falk, Georgia Kuchen and Veronica Roessler, eds., Sound View Press, Madison, Connecticut, 1999. 3 Vols.

©David Cook Galleries, LLC


  • Condition
  • Dimensions
    33 in. H x 37 in. W x 1.75 in. D
  • Seller Location
    Denver, CO
  • Reference Number
About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2013

Typical response time: 7 hours

Located in Denver, CO

More from this Seller

Charles Ragland Bunnell Untitled (Abstract Expressionist Composition), 1955
Untitled (Abstract Expressionist Composition)
Charles Ragland Bunnell
Canvas, Oil Paint, Board
An abstract expressionist oil painting housed in a custom hardwood frame, outer dimensions measure 22 ¼ x 26 ½ x ¾ inches. Image size is 15 ½ x 19 ½ inches. Charles Bunnell developed ...
Margo Hoff Two Paintings (Jagged Sea & Untitled II), circa 1968
Two Paintings (Jagged Sea & Untitled II)
Margo Hoff
Oil Paint
Overall measurements of the pair (stacked) is: 76.25 x 41.75 x 2 inches. Left: 'Jagged Sea', oil and crayon on board. Housed in a custom frame. Outer dimensions measure 37.5 x 41.5 ...
Emil Bisttram Space Abstraction, 1951
Space Abstraction
Emil Bisttram
Oil Paint
A rare, large oil by renowned transcendentalist painter, Emil Bisttram. Oil on canvas. Framed dimensions measure 94 x 84 x 2.5 inches; image measures 89.5 x 79.5 inches. About the A...
Paul Kauver Smith Painted Mosaic, circa 1955
Painted Mosaic
Paul Kauver Smith
Oil Paint
oil on canvas. Housed in a custom float frame; outer dimensions measure 32 x 17.75 x 1.25 inches. Canvas measures 30 x 16 inches. Provenance: Estate of Paul K. Smith About the A...
Florence Graziano Untitled, 1968
Florence Graziano
Canvas, Oil Paint
Housed in a custom hardwood float frame, outer dimensions measure 21 ¾ x 17 ¾ x 2 ¼ inches. Image size is 20 ¼ x 16 ¼ inches. About the Artist: Florence Veronica Mercolino Graziano R...
Charles Ragland Bunnell Sunday Morning, 1951
Sunday Morning
Charles Ragland Bunnell
Masonite, Oil Paint
Housed in a custom frame, outer dimensions measure 37 x 31 inches. Image size is 30 x 24 inches. Provenance: Estate of Charles Ragland Bunnell About the artist: Charles Bunnell devel...
Margo Hoff Sea Plant, 1961
Sea Plant
Margo Hoff
Mixed Media, Oil Paint, Acrylic Paint
Encaustic wax and paint on canvas. Framed dimensions measure 41.75 x 31.75 x 2 inches; image dimensions measure 40 x 29.75 inches. Housed in a custom black float frame. About the Artis...
Tabor Utley Untitled, 1950
Tabor Utley
Canvas, Oil Paint
Housed in a custom frame, outer dimensions measure 29 x 25 x 1 ¾ inches. Image size is 24 ¼ x 20 ¼ inches. About the Artist: Studied: Denver, CO with Robert A. Graham, J. Campbell, mi...
Zona Wheeler Untitled (Colorado Mountains), 1949
Untitled (Colorado Mountains)
Zona Wheeler
Oil Paint
Housed in a custom frame with archival materials and Museum Glass (UV Protection/Anti-reflective). Outer dimensions measure 23 ½ x 28 x ¾ inches; image size is 14 ¼ x 19 inches.
Charles Ragland Bunnell Untitled, 1956
Charles Ragland Bunnell
Oil Paint
oil on board. Framed dimensions measure 24.5 x 19.5 x 1.25 inches; image dimensions measure 18.75 x 23.75 inches. Housed in an original wooden frame. Expedited and International Ship...
Charles Ragland Bunnell Untitled (Abstract), 1952
Untitled (Abstract)
Charles Ragland Bunnell
Oil Paint
Housed in a custom frame; outer dimensions measure 27 x 21.75 inches. Image measures 23.75 x 18.75 inches. Provenance: Estate of Charles Ragland Bunnell Refer to: American Abstract Exp...
Irene Rice Pereira The Spirit of Air, circa 1950
The Spirit of Air
Irene Rice Pereira
Oil Paint
Framed dimensions are 58 x 43 inches; canvas measures 50 x 36 inches. About the Artist: Irene Rice Pereira was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and was considerably influenced by her...