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American & European Paintings - September 2008
 
 
painting
 
Julius Thiengen Bloch
(American, born Germany, 1888–1966)
Floral Still Life
Oil on canvas, 24  × 20 inches
Signed at lower right: “Julius Bloch”
RS 6471


Julius Bloch was born in Kehl, Germany, and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1893. He settled in Philadelphia and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and at the Barnes Foundation in Merion. He won a Cresson Traveling Scholarship at the Academy in 1911 that enabled him to travel throughout Europe. Influenced by the Ashcan School artists’ depictions of urban life and concerned about social issues, Bloch became one of the main proponents of Social Realism in America. He was accepted to the Easel Division of the Public Works of Art Project in 1933, and started publishing lithographs for the socialist magazine The New Masses in 1934, the year Eleanor Roosevelt selected his painting Young Worker for the permanent collection of the White House. Bloch organized the first retrospective of the works of Thomas Anshutz (1851–1912) in 1942, and participated in the “Artists for Victory” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He was an instructor at the Graphic Sketch Club in Philadelphia in 1931 and taught at the Pennsylvania Academy from 1947 to 1962. One year after Bloch’s death a memorial exhibition of his work was held at the Philadelphia Art Alliance.

Early in his career flowers were a favorite subject for Bloch: between 1916 and 1937, thirteen of the twenty‑seven paintings he exhibited at the Academy’s annual shows were of flowers. During the late 1940s he turned to floral subjects in order to experiment with a less realistic style and to use more vivid color.


  


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