Norman Bluhm


Norman Bluhm was born in Chicago in 1921, although as a child he lived in Italy for eight years. His principle education was architecture, and he studied at the Illinois Institute of Technology with Mies van der Rohe. He served in the United States Air Force from 1941-1945. He also studied in Florence at the Academia de Belle Arte before moving to Paris in 1947 to continue his education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts

where he was exposed to the ideas of the Bauhaus philosophy of bringing together aesthetically arts and crafts.  After World War II, he lived in Paris with other hopeful American writers and artists of the expatriate scene. There he developed an interest in nude painting. After coming to New York in 1956, he began showing with Leo Castelli, where he had exhibitions in 1957, 1959 and 1960. The Cedar Tavern became a favorite gathering place for Bluhm, were he met other painters and writers, including Frank O’Hara, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. Among the work of this noted group were the 26 Bluhm-O’Hara spontaneous poem paintings, composed in 1960 in Bluhm’s studio in the old TIffany Glass building.The Corcoran Gallery in Washington, CD exhibited Bluhm’s work in his first museum show in 1969 and he is now recognized as one of the leading figures of Post-War abstraction. From the late 1950s until his death in 1999, Bluhm exhibited regularly in group and solo shows throughout America and abroad.