Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis

Exhibition Info
Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building
Curators
Robert Cozzolino, Senior Curator and Curator of Modern Art
This first retrospective since 1976 of the American modernist Peter Blume, revealing his central role in the development of American modernism

Throughout his career, Blume crafted elaborate allegories that dramatize the growth of cities, the creative process, cultural memory, political power, and regeneration. A consistent theme in his work is metamorphosis -- whether in nature, manifested in dreamlike imagery, or as a working method traced in the numerous drawings and studies he made for compositions.

Blume was not a prolific painter but rather concentrated his efforts on a relatively small number of carefully conceived projects, each involving a long period of exploratory drawing. After 1930, Blume preferred to focus on ambitious, often large-scale, slowly developed paintings that explore multi-layered themes and express major concerns of the 20th century. Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis featured sections that examined several major projects that occupied Blume over many years. Blume developed these large-scale, meticulously designed paintings by thinking through drawing. Each was preceded by dozens of working drawings in a wide range of media made with surprisingly diverse approaches. Through this process, Blume discovered the formal structure and iconographic content of his major works, including Tasso’s Oak (1957-60) and The Rock (1944-48).

Drawing on a wealth of new scholarship in American modernism as well as numerous unpublished archival collections, Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis considered the relationship between automatic drawing and precise painting in Blume’s practice, his relationships with an international community of artists and writers, and the political background of his imagery. A hallmark of his work from all periods of his career is its capacity to carry multivalent meanings, always rooted in human experience, but privileging the transformative power of the imagination.

Exhibition Programs:

Please visit the Exhibition Programs for Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis.

Beyond PAFA:

Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis will travel to the Wadsworth Atheneum, where it will be on view July 3 – September 20, 2015.

Peter Blume, Tasso`s Oak, 1957-60, oil on canvas, 81 x 96 in.
Peter Blume, Tasso`s Oak, 1957-60, oil on canvas, 81 x 96 in.
Peter Blume, The Rock, 1945-48, oil on canvas, 57 5/8 x 74 3/8 in.
Peter Blume, The Rock, 1945-48, oil on canvas, 57 5/8 x 74 3/8 in.
Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis, installation view
Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis, installation view
Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis, installation view
Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis, installation view
Peter Blume, Vegetable Dinner, 1927, oil on canvas, 25 1/4 x 30 1/4 in.
Peter Blume, Vegetable Dinner, 1927, oil on canvas, 25 1/4 x 30 1/4 in.
Peter Blume, South of Scranton, 1930-31, oil on canvas, 56 x 66 in.
Peter Blume, South of Scranton, 1930-31, oil on canvas, 56 x 66 in.
Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis, installation view
Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis, installation view
Peter Blume, The Eternal City, 1934-37, oil on composition board, 34 x 47 7/8 in.
Peter Blume, The Eternal City, 1934-37, oil on composition board, 34 x 47 7/8 in.
Peter Blume, Lilies, 1938, opaque watercolor over graphite pencil on paper, affixed overall to thick cardboard, 15 x 22 in.
Peter Blume, Lilies, 1938, opaque watercolor over graphite pencil on paper, affixed overall to thick cardboard, 15 x 22 in.
Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis, installation view
Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis, installation view
Peter Blume, Landscape with Poppies, 1939, oil on canvas, 18 x 25 1/8 in.
Peter Blume, Landscape with Poppies, 1939, oil on canvas, 18 x 25 1/8 in.
Peter Blume, The Italian Straw Hat, 1952, oil on paper on board, 22 1/4 x 30 3/8 in.
Peter Blume, The Italian Straw Hat, 1952, oil on paper on board, 22 1/4 x 30 3/8 in.
Peter Blume, Winter, 1964, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 in.
Peter Blume, Winter, 1964, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 in.
Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis, installation view
Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis, installation view
Peter Blume, Recollection of the Flood, 1967-69, oil on canvas, 48 x 54 in.
Peter Blume, Recollection of the Flood, 1967-69, oil on canvas, 48 x 54 in.
Peter Blume, Crashing Surf, 1982, oil on canvas, 30 x 50 in.
Peter Blume, Crashing Surf, 1982, oil on canvas, 30 x 50 in.

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