Oscar Florianus Bluemner


Oscar Florianus Bluemner (German and American, 1867–1938) was a German-born, American Modernist painter. 

Bluemner was born on June 21, 1867 as Friedrich Julius Oskar Bluemner in Prenzlau, Germany. He studied painting and architecture a the Royal Academy of Design in Berlin. In 1893, he immigrated to Chicago where he freelanced as a draftsman at the World's Columbian Exposition. He relocated to New York in 1901. In 1903, he found success after he won the winning design for the Bronx Borough Courthouse. In New York, Bluemner met Alfred Stieglitz who introduced him to other European and American avant-garde artists. By 1910, Bluemner decided to pursue painting full-time instead of architecture. He showed at the prestigious Armory Show in 1913 and had his first solo exhibition in 1915. Bluemner failed to attract buyers to his paintings and lived in poverty most of his life. However, Bluemner never stopped his lofty ambitions as an artist and created paintings for the Federal Arts Project in the 1930s. After his wife's death in 1926, Bluemner moved to South Braintree, Massachusetts. In 1935, he had a successful solo show at the Marie Harriman Gallery in New York City. Three year later, though, Bluemner committed suicide.

Overlooked during his lifetime, Bluemner is now considered one of the greatest American Modernists and revolutionaries. Stetson University holds more than 1,000 pieces in their collection. In 2013, the Montcliar Art Museum in New Jersey presented an exhibition of Bluemner's work that depicted landscapes and industrial areas painted between 1910 and 1917. An oil painting by Bluemner titled Illusion of a Prairie, New Jersey (Red Farm at Pochuck) (1915) sold at Christie's, New York for $5,346,500.00 in 2011. Today, Oscar Florianus Bluemner's work can be found in numerous private collections and major museums worldwide.