There are artists who, despite their abundant gifts, seem destined to endure a melancholy fate, and one of them was Oscar Bluemner (1867-1938), the subject of a fine exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Bluemner was too “advanced” for the traditionalists at a time when modernism was still a contentious issue, and he was too tactless and outspoken in his relations with the modernists of the Alfred Stieglitz circle to benefit from their support. He remained an archetypal outsider in whatever milieu he frequented. He was born in Germany, where he was trained as an architect, and it was as an architect that he initially established himself in New York. In 1904, he designed the Bronx Borough Courthouse, but this remained his only major completed work in architecture, which he then abandoned in favor of painting.

more from hilton kramer at the NY Observer here.