Bluemner + The Critics

“When you feel colors, you will understand their forms.”

–Oscar Bluemner

Bluemner and the Critics is the second in a series of projects Menconi + Schoelkopf presents to illustrate the work of leading American modernists with a robust analysis of their work through the lens of understanding how scholars, critics, and others have evaluated an artist’s contributions. Oscar Bluemner arrived in the newspapers by way of scandal, and his relationship with the press remained tumultuous throughout his career. His impact and legacy over the past century relates to the experience of other leading modernists: embraced in the years leading up to and following 1913’s Armory Show and the 1916 Forum Exhibition, they mostly fell out of favor during the middle decades of the twentieth century and were rediscovered in the years following America’s Bicentennial in the late 1970s and 1980s. Only with the renewed focus on Bluemner’s work around 1980 did he come to be understood once more as a major light in both the Stieglitz circle and American modernism. Bluemner and the Critics traces the artist's rise and fall and ultimate resurrection in the eyes of the critics, and features numerous masterworks from his early years in New Jersey, his pivotal sun-and-moon series in the late 1920s, and the later paintings from Massachusetts. The exhibition includes the artist’s drawings, watercolors, and paintings which are discussed in an essay by Dr. Roberta Smith Favis, Professor Emerita of Art History at Stetson University, DeLand, Florida.