Nov 10, 2009

Violet Blue

Violet Blue


Norman Bluhm

(American, 1920–1999)

Watercolor, ink and acrylic

Support: Wove medium-weight watercolor paper

Sheet: 67.7 x 101.6 cm (26 5/8 x 40 in.)

Delia E. Holden Fund 2001.125



Norman Bluhm belongs to the group of painters frequently referred to as the "second generation" Abstract Expressionists, artists who developed the gestural style pioneered by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning in the 1940s and early 1950s. This watercolor falls early in Bluhm's career, at a time when the practices and ideas of the first Abstract Expressionist painters were beginning to influence a number of younger artists. Bluhm's work is characterized by a strong color sense as well as a refined gestural style of brushwork and dripping. We find here a balance between chance splattering and dripping and a controlled, almost calligraphic approach to composition. This is evident in the strokes of white paint—the last applied to this rich and dense composition—which undulate across the paper in rhythmic curves and reversals, but which also drip down the surface.

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Delia E. Holden Fund

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