hyman bloom


Hyman Bloom’s name is usually associated with 1940s expressionism. He was discovered in 1942 by Museum of Modern Art curator Dorothy Miller, who launched his reputation by including thirteen of his paintings in one of her regular exhibitions of contemporary American art. In 1950, together with Arshile Gorky, Jackson Pollock, and Willem de Kooning, Bloom represented the United States at the Venice Biennale. By 1954, he was having a full retrospective at the Whitney Museum. The news of his death a few weeks ago, at the age of 96, must have come as a surprise to many: Hyman Bloom was still around? I visited him for the first time in 2000. He was 87 years old and I expected he might express some of the bitter feelings not uncommon among older artists who are no longer household names. Quite the contrary. I found a courteous, smart-looking, humorous, and highly intellectual man, who, after I started asking him a few questions about his career, recommended that I try LSD. He was only half-joking. In the mid-fifties he had volunteered to participate in an experiment on the effects of LSD on creativity. He called it “an eye-opener.” The experiment was only one of many avenues Bloom explored in search of spiritual adventures and new sources of inspiration to give pictorial form to his profound need for transcendence. For the same reason he participated in séances (though he admitted never seeing spirits) and immersed himself in Eastern philosophy, theosophy, and other esoteric systems of thought.

more from Isabelle Dervaux at artcritical here.