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Albert Bloch papers, 1873-2014

Albert Bloch papers, 1873-2014

Bloch, Albert, 1882-1961

Painter

Collection Information

Size: 17.9 linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter and educator Albert Bloch measure 17.9 linear feet and date from 1873 to 2014. The collection documents his career as an artist and university professor in Lawrence, Kansas, as well as his time in Munich, Germany, as part of the Blue Rider group of German Expressionists. The collection includes biographical material, extensive personal and professional correspondence, writings, personal business records, exhibition files, printed material, photographs, and artwork. Throughout the collection are records maintained by his widow Anna Bloch on the exhibition, sale, and research of Bloch's work after his death.

Biographical/Historical Note

Albert Bloch (1882-1961) was a painter and educator in Lawrence, Kansas. From 1909 to 1921, he lived and worked in Germany, where he was associated with Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group of European modernists.

Provenance

Donated 2015 by the Albert Bloch Foundation via Scott Heffley, president. Additonal letters from Anna Bloch donated 2017 by David Strauss, Albert Bloch's cousin.

Related Materials

A Finding Aid to the Albert Bloch Papers, 1873-2014, in the Archives of American Art
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Author
Finding aid prepared by Erin Kinhart
Biographical/Historical note
Albert Bloch (1882-1961) was a painter and educator in Lawrence, Kansas. From 1909 to 1921, he lived and worked in Germany, where he was associated with Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) group of European modernists.
Bloch was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and as a teenager attended the St. Louis School of Fine Arts. From 1905 to 1913, he contributed numerous caricatures, cartoons, covers, and articles to the satirical newspaper
The Mirror
. In 1905, he married Hortense Altheimer and they lived briefly in New York City before moving to the artists’ district in Munich, Germany, thanks to the financial support of William Reedy, editor of
The Mirror
. By 1911 Bloch had befriended prominent members of the Neue Kunstlervereinigung Munchen (NKVM), including Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc. He joined them when they later seceded from the NKVM group to form Der Blaue Reiter. Bloch exhibited six paintings in the group’s first exhibition in 1911-1912. Over the next few years, Bloch exhibited his works regularly, most notably at Der Sturm Gallery. He and his family remained in Germany throughout World War I, returning to the US in 1921.
Bloch worked briefly at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art, and in 1923, settled in Lawrence, Kansas, accepting a faculty position at the University of Kansas. During this period he did not regularly exhibit his work and focused on teaching and writing. He corresponded with Austrian writer Karl Kraus, editor of
Die Fackel
, and began to translate Kraus’ works into English. In the early 1930s, Bloch met Anna Francis at the University of Kansas and later she lived with the Bloch family, including Hortense and two sons, Bernard and Walter. After the death of his wife Hortense, Alfred married Anna in 1951. 1947, Bloch suffered a heart attack and retired from the University of Kansas. That same year a book of his poetry,
Ventures in Verse: Selected Pieces
, was published.
Bloch continued to paint and had a large retrospective of his work in 1955 at the University of Kansas Museum of Art. He died in December 1961 after a long illness.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 8 series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1873-1990s (0.4 Linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1912-2013 (6.2 Linear feet; Boxes 1-7)
Series 3: Writings, circa 1920s-1990s (3.9 Linear feet; Boxes 7-11)
Series 4: Personal Business Records, 1914-2014 (0.6 Linear feet; Box 11)
Series 5: Exhibition Files, 1939-2000 (0.7 Linear feet; Box 12, 19)
Series 6: Printed Material, 1911-2006 (2 Linear feet; Boxes 12-14)
Series 7: Photographic Materials, circa 1882-2013 (4.1 Linear feet; Boxes 14-21)
Series 8: Artwork, circa 1930s-1950s (0.2 Linear feet; Box 17)
Scope and Contents note
The papers of painter and educator Albert Bloch measure 17.9 linear feet and date from 1873 to 2014. The collection documents his career as an artist and university professor in Lawrence, Kansas, as well as his time in Munich, Germany, as part of the Blue Rider group of German Expressionists. The collection includes biographical material, extensive personal and professional correspondence, writings, personal business records, exhibition files, printed material, photographs, and artwork. Throughout the collection are records maintained by his widow Anna Bloch on the exhibition, sale, and research of Bloch’s work after his death.
Biographical material includes vital records, passports, chronologies, biographical summaries, family history documents, and bibliography files compiled by Anna Bloch. Correspondence is with family, friends, artists, art historians, students, museums, galleries, publishers, magazines, and others, and includes letters of both a personal and professional nature. Of note is Albert Bloch’s correspondence with artists Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Emmy Klinker, Franz Marc, Philipp Fehl, and his students James Penney and Robert Sudlow.
Writings include poetry, lectures, essays, notes, and Bloch’s translations of the writings of Austrian writer Karl Kraus. Included are many drafts of his book of poetry,
Ventures in Verse: Selected Pieces
. Also found are love notes between Albert and Anna Bloch. Writings by others include a few notebooks and loose notes by Anna Bloch, essays and lectures about Bloch’s artwork, and poetry.
Personal business records include lists of artworks, price lists, sales records, and ownership records, and more recent records concerning artwork conservation; agreements, and consignment records with art galleries and dealers; and artwork shipping records, all maintained by Anna Bloch. Exhibition files are not comprehensive, and primarily document retrospective exhibitions of Bloch’s artwork occurring after his death. Of note are records, including a scrapbook, for a 1997 retrospective at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Printed material includes exhibition publications, news clippings, magazines, journals, and photocopies of Bloch’s work for
The Mirror
. Photographs depict Bloch in his home, studio, and with family and friends. Also found are many photographs of family and friends, artwork by Bloch, Blue Rider exhibition photographs taken by artist Gabriele Münter, and two photograph album “Record Books” that contain annotated photographs of his painting during the period that he lived in Germany. A small amount of artwork includes sketches by Bloch.
Provenance
Donated 2015 by the Albert Bloch Foundation via Scott Heffley, president. Additonal letters from Anna Bloch donated 2017 by David Strauss, Albert Bloch's cousin.
Related Archival Materials note
The
Albert Bloch, the American Blue Rider Exhibition records
, 1994-1997, are available at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Processing Information note
The collection was processed and a finding aid prepared by Erin Kinhart in 2016. A small addition was added into the existing collection in 2017.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center.

How to Cite This Collection

Albert Bloch papers, 1873-2014. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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