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Oscar Bluemner papers

Creator:
Bluemner, Oscar, 1867-1938  Search this
Names:
Bourgeois, Stephan, 1881-1964  Search this
Bruce, Edward, 1879-1943  Search this
Fiene, Ernest, 1894-  Search this
Friedman, Arnold, 1874-1946  Search this
Hirsch, Stefan, 1899-1964  Search this
Hochschild, Walter  Search this
Lewisohn, Margaret  Search this
Liebman, Aline Meyer, 1879-1966  Search this
Of, George F. (George Ferdinand), b. 1876  Search this
Rothbart, Albert  Search this
Stieglitz, Alfred, 1864-1946  Search this
Vogelstein, Ludwig, 1871-1934  Search this
Extent:
6.9 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Sketches
Writings
Diaries
Photographs
Date:
1886-1939, 1960
Summary:
The papers of painter Oscar Bluemner date from 1886 to 1939, with one item from 1960, and measure 6.9 linear feet. The collection documents Bluemner's career through scattered biographical material and personal and professional correspondence. Almost one-half of the collection consists of Bluemner's extensive writings and notes about his artwork, painting techniques, and art theory in the form of diaries, notebooks, lists, essays, and notes - many of which are also illustrated. Also found are annotated books, exhibition catalogs, newsclippings, artwork and sketches by Bluemner, and photographs of Bluemner's artwork and of architecture. Bluemner's work in architecture is documented to a lesser degree through scattered licenses, photographs, and design drawings.
Scope and Content Note:
The papers of painter Oscar Bluemner date from 1886 to 1939, with one item from 1960, and measure 6.9 linear feet. The collection documents Bluemner's career through scattered biographical material and personal and professional correspondence. Almost one-half of the collection consists of Bluemner's extensive writings and notes about his artwork, painting techniques, and art theory in the form of diaries, notebooks, lists, essays, and notes - many of which are also illustrated. Also found are annotated books, exhibition catalogs, newsclippings, artwork and sketches by Bluemner, and photographs of Bluemner's artwork and of architecture. Bluemner's work in architecture is documented to a lesser degree through scattered licenses, photographs, and design drawings.

Biographical material is scattered and includes autobiographical writings, a list of published works, an essay for a Guggenheim fellowship application, certificates, legal documents, and membership records. Also of note are detailed technical diagrams of his studio easel. The small amount of correspondence in this collection is with family, friends, artists, art galleries and museums, art collectors and patons, and others. Notable correspondents include Stephan Bourgeois, Edward Bruce, Ernest Fiene, Arnold Friedman, Stefan Hirsch, Walter Hochschild, Margaret Lewisohn, Aline Liebman, George Ferdinand Of, Albert Rothbart, Alfred Stieglitz, and Ludwig Vogelstein.

Bluemner' extensive writings about his painting techniques and theories, and art history and criticism are found in painting and theory diaries, notebooks, notes, lists of artwork, essays, and writings for publication. Painting Diaries contain Bluemner's handwritten notes about newly-completed paintings and current work. Theory Diaries contain his notes on art theory. Both sets of diaries contain many color illustrations and sketches. Also of particular interest are Bluemner's notes and homemade notebooks on techniques which he often called "Easel Notes." Also found are notes on paintings he viewed in American art collections and four volumes of notes taken during his tour of Europe in 1912. Bluemner also maintained extensive notes on Chinese and Japanese art history and styles. Additional writings include a collection of notes he compiled and organized from his other diaries, notebooks, and writings for a book on painting.

Bluemner's papers also contain books and exhibition catalogs annotated with his notes and illustrations - many of which are on the subject of Chinese and Japanese art. Art motif and travel sketches contain motifs and artwork that Bluemner developed into themes for his paintings. Most of the travel sketches are of towns in New Jersey, but also include sketches and notes on Italy, which he visited in 1912. There is also a small sketchbook and drawings of buildings Bluemner designed.

Printed material includes exhibition catalogs and announcements, some of which are annotated with prices and additional information, as well as news and magazine clippings, and prints of published writings by Bluemner. Photographs found in the collection include three photographs of buildings Bluemner designed, photographs of artwork, one print of Bluemner, and negatives.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into 9 series:

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1886-circa 1937 (Box 1, OV 9; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1889-1936 (Box 1; 0.2 linear feet)

Series 3: Painting & Theory Diaries, 1911-1936 (Box 1-2, 7; 1.2 linear feet)

Series 4: Writings & Notes, 1891-1892, 1909-1937 (Box 2-4, 8; 2.2 linear feet)

Series 5: Annotated Books & Catalogs, 1907-1933 (Box 4-5; 1.0 linear feet)

Series 6: Art Motifs & Travel Sketches, 1902-1936 (Box 5-6, 8; 1.4 linear feet)

Series 7: Artwork, 1892-circa 1930s (Box 6; 4 folders)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1906-1939, 1960, undated (Box 6; 0.3 linear feet)

Series 9: Photographs, 1891, 1903, circa 1930s (Box 6; 5 folders)
Biographical Note:
Oscar Bluemner (1867-1938) was born Friedrich Julius Oskar Blümner in Prussia in 1867. As a child he received some formal art training. He enrolled in the architecture department of the Konigliche Technische Hochschule (Royal Technical Academy), Berlin, and received his architecture degree in 1892. A few months later he moved to the United States and worked in Chicago as a draftsman at the World's Columbian Exposition. After the exposition, Bluemner attempted to find work in both Chicago and New York City, but could not find steady employment. In 1903 he created the winning design for the Bronx Borough Courthouse, and for the next few years had various intermittent jobs as an architect in New York. Around this time Bluemner also began writing down his thoughts on aesthetics, art history, and art theory, which he would continue to do for the rest of his life in various journals, diaries, and notebooks.

In 1908 Bluemner met Alfred Stieglitz at Stieglitz's gallery, known as "291", and by 1910 he had decided to pursue painting full-time rather than architecture. From 1911 to 1912 he worked on a set of Neo-Impressionist paintings and, using the money he won in a suit regarding the Bronx Courthouse design, he went on a seven-month trip to Europe, touring museums and galleries, and exhibiting his own work in Germany. Upon returning to the United States, Bluemner exhibited in the 1913 Armory Show, and in 1915 had a one-man show at 291. Despite participating in several exhibitions, including solo shows, for the next ten years Bluemner failed to sell many paintings and lived with his family in near-poverty. In 1916 he moved to New Jersey, living as an itinerant, until finally settling in South Braintree, Massachusetts, after his wife's death in 1926. Over the next few years, Bluemner had several prominent one-man shows at the Whitney Studio Galleries and at the Marie Harriman Gallery in New York. He was briefly employed for the Public Works of Art Project in 1934 and the Federal Art Project in 1936, but due to failing health was forced to stop painting. Oscar Bluemner committed suicide in 1938.
Related Material:
Also found in the Archives of American Art is the John Davis Hatch papers, 1790-1995, which include correspondence, printed material, and research files regarding Oscar Bluemner.

Additional Oscar Bluemner materials are available at the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, and within the Vera Bluemner Kouba Collection, Stetson University, Deland, Florida.
Separated Material:
The Archives of American Art also holds microfilm of material lent for microfilming on reel N737. Loaned materials were returned to the lender and are not described in the collection container inventory.
Provenance:
The material on reel N737 was lent by Graham Gallery in 1968. The rest of the collection was donated between 1970-1985 by John David Hatch, a close friend of Bluemner and an art historian.
Restrictions:
The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.
Rights:
The Oscar Bluemner papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Topic:
Art -- Philosophy  Search this
Works of art  Search this
Painting -- Technique  Search this
Architects -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Painters -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art -- History  Search this
Art criticism  Search this
Art, Chinese  Search this
Art, Japanese  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sketches
Writings
Diaries
Photographs
Citation:
Oscar Bluemner papers, 1886-1939, 1960. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.blueosca
See more items in:
Oscar Bluemner papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-blueosca
Online Media:

Ernest Fiene: artist file, [photographs]

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Physical description:
1 folder
Type:
Photograph
Artist files
Topic:
Art, American  Search this
Image number:
VFM VF001036
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_138589

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1918
Image number:
JUL J0069228
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69229

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1953-54
Image number:
JUL J0069229
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69230

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1953-54
Image number:
JUL J0069230
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69231

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1953-54
Image number:
JUL J0069231
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69232

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1953-54
Image number:
JUL J0069232
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69233

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1951
Image number:
JUL J0069233
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69234

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1940
Image number:
JUL J0069234
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69235

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0069235
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69236

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0069236
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69237

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0069237
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69238

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0069238
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69239

(No Title Given) [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1931
Image number:
JUL J0069239
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69240

Wanger, Walter [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1940
Image number:
JUL J0069240
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69241

Wayne, John [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1940
Image number:
JUL J0069241
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69242

Artist and Model [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0069242
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69243

Judge Inzerwyatt, Mrs. [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1964
Image number:
JUL J0069243
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69244

The Artist's Daughter [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Date:
1962
Image number:
JUL J0069244
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69245

The Breakfast Table [art work] / (photographed by Peter A. Juley & Son)

Artist:
Fiene, Ernest 1894-1965  Search this
Type:
Photograph
Image number:
JUL J0069245
See more items in:
Photograph Archives
Data Source:
Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_jul_69246

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