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Oscar Bluemner papers, 1886-1939

Bluemner, Oscar, 1867-1938

Painter

The papers of Oscar Bluemner in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2008. The papers have been scanned in their entirety and total 15,820 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 6.9 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter Oscar Bluemner date from 1886 to 1939, with one item from 1960, and measure 6.9 linear feet. The collection documents Bluemner's career through scattered biographical material and personal and professional correspondence. Almost one-half of the collection consists of Bluemner's extensive writings and notes about his artwork, painting techniques, and art theory in the form of diaries, notebooks, lists, essays, and notes - many of which are also illustrated. Also found are annotated books, exhibition catalogs, newsclippings, artwork and sketches by Bluemner, and photographs of Bluemner's artwork and of architecture. Bluemner's work in architecture is documented to a lesser degree through scattered licenses, photographs, and design drawings.

Biographical/Historical Note

Oscar Bluemner (1867-1938) was born Friedrich Julius Oskar Blümner in Prussia in 1867. As a child he received some formal art training. He enrolled in the architecture department of the Konigliche Technische Hochschule (Royal Technical Academy), Berlin, and received his architecture degree in 1892. A few months later he moved to the United States and worked in Chicago as a draftsman at the World's Columbian Exposition. After the exposition, Bluemner attempted to find work in both Chicago and New York City, but could not find steady employment. In 1903 he created the winning design for the Bronx Borough Courthouse, and for the next few years had various intermittent jobs as an architect in New York. Around this time Bluemner also began writing down his thoughts on aesthetics, art history, and art theory, which he would continue to do for the rest of his life in various journals, diaries, and notebooks.

Provenance

The material on reel N737 was lent by Graham Gallery in 1968. The rest of the collection was donated between 1970-1985 by John David Hatch, a close friend of Bluemner and an art historian.

Related Materials

Language Note

English and German

Funding

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.