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Norman Bluhm, Untitled (detail), c.1970, oil on canvas, 28 x 24 inches.

Norman Bluhm, Untitled (detail), c.1970, oil on canvas, 28 x 24 inches.

“Art is somewhere between earth and the flesh, between the living form and the abstract.” - Norman Bluhm


CONNERSMITH is pleased to present ACCESS | Norman Bluhm: Between the Living Form and the Abstract featuring works from the Collection of Vincent Melzac.

Norman Bluhm (1921-1999) was an American Abstract Expressionist celebrated for creating paintings with bold, energetic brushwork and colorful, voluptuous forms. Born in Chicago, IL, Bluhm studied architecture with Mies van der Rohe. In 1948, after serving as a fighter pilot in World War II, Bluhm moved to Paris, where he studied at the Ecoled des Beaux-Arts and associated with Joan Mitchell, Sam Francis and Alberto Giacometti. After moving to New York in 1956, he joined a circle of artists including Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhardt, Willem de Kooning and showed at the Leo Castelli Gallery.


“A painting should generate energy from within and without. The viewer should be able to feel the impact of its forces on the paint, and surrounding ceiling, walls and floor.” - Norman Bluhm

Norman Bluhm, Untitled (detail), 1966, acrylic on board mounted on Masonite, 37 x 30.5 inches.

Norman Bluhm, Untitled (detail), 1966, acrylic on board mounted on Masonite, 37 x 30.5 inches.

In 1969, the influential collector Vincent Melzac arranged Bluhm’s first museum solo exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. In the 1960s and 1970s, Bluhm developed a distinctively erotic style of abstraction inspired by the female nude, painting swirling, curvaceous shapes in bright pink, blue and purple hues. Today, his works are in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., among other international institutions.


“Abstract expressionism is a form of classicism. Putting paint on canvas today is still as revolutionary as when it was first done.” -Norman Bluhm