This is a unique artwork. This is not editioned. This is an exceptional single print which was part of a collaboration between him and fellow artist and his very good friend Martin Sumers. Purple ink or oil on black paper. There are more than one of this image (variations on a theme) but this is unique thus. This is pencil signed by both Martin Sumers and Hyman Bloom, I believe it is a Hyman Bloom image printed with the assistance of Martin Sumers.
Exhibited at the “variations of a theme” at Sumers gallery in NYC. Strong impression. The last two photos show a poster and a card from their shows. it is not included in this listing, it is just for provenance.
Provenance: Acquired from the Sumers estate collection.
Hyman Bloom (March 29, 1913 – August 26, 2009) was a Latvian-born American painter. His work was influenced by his Jewish heritage and Eastern religions as well as by artists including Altdorfer, Grünewald, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Blake, Bresdin, James Ensor and Chaim Soutine. He first came to prominence when his work was included in the 1942 Museum of Modern Art exhibition "Americans 1942 -- 18 Artists from 9 States". MoMA purchased 2 paintings from the exhibition and Time magazine singled him out as a "striking discovery" in their exhibition review.
His work was selected for both the 1948 and 1950 Venice Biennale exhibitions and his 1954 retrospective traveled from Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art to the Albright Gallery and the de Young Museum before closing out at The Whitney Museum of American Art in 1955. In a 1954 interview with Yale art professor Bernard Chaet, Willem de Kooning indicated that he and Jackson Pollock both considered Bloom to be “America’s first abstract expressionist”, a label that Bloom would disavow. Starting in the mid 1950s his work began to shift more towards works on paper and he exclusively focused on drawing throughout the 1960s, returning to painting in 1971. He continued both drawing and painting until his death in 2009 at the age of 9
Hyman Bloom (né Melamed) was born into an orthodox Jewish family in the tiny Jewish village of Brunavišķi in what is now Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire
At a young age Bloom planned to become a rabbi, but his family could not find a suitable teacher. In the eighth grade he received a scholarship to a program for gifted high school students at the Museum of Fine Arts. He attended the Boston High School of Commerce, which was near the museum. He also took art classes at the West End Community Center, a settlement house. The classes were taught by Harold Zimmerman, a student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, who also taught the young Jack Levine at another settlement house in Roxbury. When Bloom was fifteen, he and Levine began studying with a well-known Harvard art professor, Denman Ross, who rented a studio for the purpose and paid the boys a weekly stipend to enable them to continue their studies rather than take jobs to support their families.
He took Bloom and Levine on a field trip to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where Bloom was impressed by the work of Rouault and Soutine and began experimenting with their expressive painting styles.
In the 1930s Bloom worked sporadically for the Public Works of Art Project and the Federal Art Project (WPA), He shared a studio in the South End with Levine and another artist, Betty Chase. It was during this period that he developed a lifelong interest in Eastern philosophy and music, and in Theosophy.
He first received national attention in 1942 when thirteen of his paintings were included in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) exhibition Americans 1942: 18 Artists from 9 States, curated by Dorothy Miller. MoMA purchased two of his paintings from that exhibition, and he was featured in Time magazine. The titles of his paintings in the exhibition reflect some of his recurring themes. Two were titled The Synagogue, another, Jew with the Torah; Bloom was actually criticized by one reviewer for including "stereotypical" Jewish images. He also had two paintings titled The Christmas Tree, and another titled The Chandelier, both subjects he returned to repeatedly. Another, Skeleton (c. 1936), was followed by a series of cadaver paintings in the forties, and The Fish (c. 1936) was one of many paintings and drawings of fish he created over the course of his career.
Bloom was associated at first with the growing Abstract Expressionist movement. Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, who first saw Bloom's work at the MoMA exhibition, considered Bloom "the first Abstract Expressionist artist in America." In 1950 he was chosen, along with the likes of de Kooning, Pollock, and Arshile Gorky, to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale. That same year Elaine de Kooning wrote about Bloom in ARTnews, noting that in paintings such as The Harpies, his work approached total abstraction: "the whole impact is carried in the boiling action of the pigment". In 1951 Thomas B. Hess reproduced Bloom's Archaeological Treasure in his first book, Abstract Painting: Background and American Phase, along with works by Picasso, Pollock, and others. Both de Kooning and Hess remarked on Bloom's expressive paint handling, a key characteristic of Abstract Expressionist painting.
As abstract expressionism dominated the American art world, Bloom became disenchanted with it, calling it "emotional catharsis, with no intellectual basis." In addition, instead of moving to New York to pursue his career, he opted to stay in Boston. As a result he fell out of favor with critics and never achieved the kind of fame that Pollock and others did. He disliked self-promotion and never placed much value on critical acclaim.
Many of Bloom's paintings feature rabbis, usually holding the Torah. According to Bloom, his intentions were more artistic than religious. He began questioning his Jewish faith early in life, and painted rabbis, he claimed, because that was what he knew. Over the course of his career he produced dozens of paintings of rabbis, some of whom bore no small resemblance to himself. When asked if they were self-portraits, he replied cryptically, "When did I ever paint anything else? The Fuller Museum presented a full retrospective of his work in 1996. Another was organized by the National Academy of Design in New York in 2002.
His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum, the National Academy of Design, and many others. Hyman Bloom: The Beauty of All Things, a film about the artist's life and work, was released in October 2009.
Honors and awards
Critic's Choice Award from the Cincinnati Museum of Art for Christmas Tree, 1945
Guggenheim fellowship, 1949
Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1953
Ford Foundation fellowship, 1959
Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1974
Elected to the National Academy of Design, 1984
Thomas R. Proctor Prize for Jew with Torah from the National Academy of Design, 1999
Martin Sumers, painter, born in New York City, 1922, studied in University of Pennsylvania.
Solo Exhibits: Art Fair Gallery; Nordness Gallery; Art Fair Gallery drawing ; Graphics
Group Exhibits: Aspects Gallery 1960; Art Fair Gallery 1960-1967; Hudson River Museum 1960; Montclair Art Museum 1964, 1967; New York Worlds Fair 1965; New Jersey State Museum State Annuals 1965, 1966, 1967; The Pratt Center for Contemporary Printmaking 1966; Forum Gallery, Sculpture; Art Fair Gallery Sculpture 1968; Art Center of Northern New Jersey 1968; American Academy of Arts and Letters 1968; Art in Park in Paterson NJ, Sculpture, 2nd. prize 1970
Holdings : New Jersey State Museum; Butler Institute of American Art; Roanoke Fine Arts Center; Housatonic College; Pen Morton College; University of North Carolina; Cornell College; Cedar Rapids Art Center; University of Miami; Slater Memorial Gallery in CT; Smith College in MA; Brandeis Rose Art Museum; Rollins College in Winter Park, FL; De Cordova Museum in Lincoln, NE; Albrecht Gallery in St. Joseph, MO; Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences; State University of New York; State University College in Potsdam, NY; St. Laurence University; Evansville Museum of Arts and Sciences; Canton Art Institute; Russell Sage College in Albany, NY