Pierce Galleries, Hingham and Nantucket Fine Art Dealers, Museum Quality Paintings

Robert Frederick Blum   Click Images to Enlarge

Robert Frederick Blum
Japanese Scene
Watercolor on paper,
15 x 10 in.
circa 1890-1892
Robert Frederick Blum
Japanese Girl
Oil on board,
6 x 11 in.
Robert Frederick Blum

(American, 1857-1903)

Robert Blum is one of the most sought-after American impressionist painters. His refined, sophisticated paintings are rare and hard to come.

Blum was a painter, illustrator and muralist who was born in 1857 in Cincinnati and died in New York City in 1903. He apprenticed at 16 to a lithographic house as an illustrator and took Frank Duveneck's evening classes at Cincinnati's Old Mechanics' Institute (1874-1875) and studied at the McMicken Art School of Design (Cincinnati, 1876) and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art (1876) before traveling in 1880 for Venice, Italy to paint with Duveneck and his circle. In Italy, Blum was highly influenced by the work of James Abbott McNeil Whistler, who had a major impact on the way he would paint for the rest of his short life.

During the 1880s, Blum went back and forth from New York City (where he established a studio near William M. Chase and John H. Twachtman) and Europe and he became a well-respected illustrator and painted. He first illustrated for Scribner’s as early as 1879. In 1890, he went to Japan to illustrated for Charles Scribner’s Sons of NY Sir Edwin Arnold's 1891 book Japonica. Until 1892 he painted several delicately handled watercolors like Japanese Scene and oils of local Japanese scenes for which he became famous and authored in 1893 "An Artist in Japan," published by Scribner's (May 1893).

When Blum returned from Japan to New York City, he painted several murals for the Mendelssohn Glee Club (now preserved at the Brooklyn Museum of Art), but he lived in reclusive seclusion after 1893 due to illness and died in his sleep in his studio in 1903, shocking the art community.

Blum was an Associate of the National Academy, NYC (1892) and an Academician (1893) and was a member of the Society of American Artists; American Water Color Society; Society of Mural Painters; Society of Painters in Pastel, NY (president) and the Lotus Club. He won prestigious medals from Paris Exposition (1889, 1900), a gold medal at the Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo (1901) and was given a retrospective exhibition at the Carnegie Institute (1923).

References: Gerdts, Wm., American Artists in Japan; 300 Years of American Art, page 508; Who Was Who in American Art, vol. 1, p. 354