Julius Thiengen Bloch

(American born Germany, 1888 - 1966)

Julius Bloch was born in Kehl, Germany. He and his family immigrated to the United States in 1893 and settled in Philadelphia. Bloch studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and at the Barnes Foundation in Merion. He was awarded a Cresson Traveling Scholarship from the Academy in 1911 and went to Italy, France, Spain, Holland, and England. He had his solo exhibition in 1929 at the Little Theatre in Philadelphia. Bloch’s interest in depicting urban life and the concern for liberal social issues was influenced by the Ashcan School artists, and he became one of the main exponents of American Social Realism. He joined 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 same year Eleanor Roosevelt selected his painting Young Worker for the permanent collection of the White House, and purchased one of his lithographs. Bloch organized the first retrospective of the works of Thomas Anshutz (1851-1912) in 1942, and participated in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s “Artists for Victory” exhibition at the in New York. Bloch was an instructor at the Graphic Sketch Club in Philadelphia in 1931 and taught at the Pennsylvania Academy from 1947 to 1962. He died in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Museum of Art organized a major exhibition of his work in 1983, and published a bulletin devoted exclusively to his life and art.