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Albert Bloch papers, 1873-2014

Biographical 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.