Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Exhibitions

  • Albert Bloch Themes and Variations. Paintings and Watercolors from the Albert Bloch Foundation
  • 25-Sep-2015 - 02-Jan-2016
  • Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence, Kansas
Works
Description

The Lawrence Arts Center presents a comprehensive exhibition of Albert Bloch paintings and watercolors, co-curated by LAC Exhibitions Director Ben Ahlvers and University of Kansas Art History Professor David Cateforis, working closely with the Albert Bloch Foundation.

The exhibited works range in date from Bloch’s time with the Blue Rider group in Munich in the early 1910s through the end of his career in Lawrence, Kansas in the 1950s and include many that have never been displayed before. The exhibition is organized around the many different themes Bloch treated in his art, ranging from portraits, landscapes, and still-lifes to clowns, shrouded mourners, and Christian subjects. It is accompanied by a book authored by Cateforis illustrating all of the exhibited works and many additional ones to provide a rich overview of Bloch’s art.

Albert Bloch was born in 1882 in St. Louis, Missouri, and began his career as a newspaper illustrator and caricaturist. He moved to Munich in 1909 to pursue his goal of becoming an artist. In 1911 he met the prominent modernists Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc, who invited the young artist to join their new group, the Blue Rider. Bloch was the only American to exhibit in the two landmark exhibitions of the Blue Rider in 1911 and 1912, and for the rest of the decade he showed widely in Germany and also had solo shows in Chicago and Saint Louis.

Following his return to the United States in 1921 Bloch could have capitalized on being the “American Blue Rider,” but he instead sought independence from the art market and decided to exhibit only by invitation. In 1923 he became head of the department of drawing and painting at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, a position he held until his retirement in 1947. During these decades Bloch’s art evolved from its modernist-influenced mode of the 1910s to a more personal and intensely expressive representational style. After his retirement Albert Bloch continued to live in Lawrence and to paint until 1958, two years before his death in 1961.