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Emil Bisttram

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Emil Bisttram
20th Century Modern Transcendental Painting Painter, Printmaker
Hungarian, (April 7, 1895–February 26, 1976) Born in Hungary, Bisttram immigrated with his family to New York City, where he studied art. He opened the nation’s first freelance advertising art agency by age twenty-one, but then abandoned commercial art in pursuit of a career in fine art. Bisttram’s artistic goals changed when he left New York after the stock market crash and visited Taos, New Mexico in the summer of 1930, where his work became increasingly non-objective. He co-founded the Transcendental Painting Group which was active from 1938-1941. Believing that terms like “abstract” and “non-objective” were inadequate, the word “transcendental” was selected to express the modern goal of “painting beyond the physical world to imaginative realms that are idealistic and spiritual.” He established the Taos School of Art and frequently promoted the theories of Kandinsky, even devoting himself for a time to painting symphonic rhythms like Kandinsky.
Death
February 26, 1976, Taos, New Mexico

Exhibitions
2003: "The Art of Organic Forms," March 13 - May 3, 2003, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, New York
2002: Joslyn Art Museum, November 3, 2001 - January 13, 2002, Omaha, Nebraska
2002: Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
2000 - 2001: Denver Art Museum, October 21, 2000 - January 21, 2001, Denver, Colorado
2000: "America Gone Modern: From the Twenties to the Sixties," March 11 - April 29, 2000, Spanierman Gallery, New York, New York
1996: "Abstraction Across America," September 11 - November 9, 1996, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, New York
1993: "Aspects of American Abstraction 1930 - 1942," February 11 - March 27, 1993, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York, New York
1989: “Modernist Themes in New Mexico: Works by Early Modernist Painters,” August 4 - 16, 1989, Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1984: "Emil Bisttram & Blanche Lazzell," October 2 - November 3, 1984, Martin Diamond Fine Arts, New York, New York
1980: “The New Deal in the Southwest: Arizona and New Mexico,” January 18 - February 15, 1980, University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona; March 27 - April 28, 1980, Northern Arizona University Art Gallery, Flagstaff, Arizona; May 24 - July 13, 1980, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
1976: “Artists of the Western Frontier,” July 3 - October 17, 1976, Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
1973: “100 West: One Hundred Paintings by One Hundred Western Artists,” From the collection of Mr. & Mrs. William D. Harmsen, March 19 - April 27, 1973, Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center, Pueblo, Colorado
1971: Jamison Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1970: Jonson Gallery, University Art Museum, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
1968: Taos Artists Association, Taos, New Mexico
1959: “Taos Collects Bisttram,” Retrospective, Harwood Art Museum, Taos, New Mexico
1959: Retrospective, Leone Kahl Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1954: “Moderns,” Jonson Gallery, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Los Alamos Museum, Los Alamos, New Mexico; Santa Fe Museum of Art (New Mexico Museum of Art), Santa Fe, New Mexico
1956: Retrospective, Harwood Art Museum, Taos, New Mexico
1956: Retrospective, Leone Kahl Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1953: Invitational group show, Santa Fe Museum of Art (New Mexico Museum of Art), Santa Fe, New Mexico
1953: Springfield Annual, Springfield, Utah
1953: Beaumont Museum of Art (Art Museum of Southeast Texas), Beaumont, Texas
1953: Santa Fe Museum of Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1953: Jonson Gallery, University Art Museum, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
1951: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
1951: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
1946: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California
1945 - 1946: Museum of Non-Objective Art, New York, New York
1943: Philbrook Art Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
1937: Corcoran Galleries, Washington, D.C.
1936: Legion of Honor Museum, Los Angeles, California
1936: Houston Museum of Art, Houston, Texas
1936: Denton College for Women, Denton, Texas
1936: Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas
1933: Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
1933: Santa Fe Museum of Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1933: Witte Memorial Museum of Art, San Antonio, Texas
1931: "Chicago Watercolor Show," Chicago Art Institute, Chicago, Illinois
1928: Boston Art Association, Boston, Massachusetts
1928: Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1926 - 1928: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1927: Buffalo Art Museum, Buffalo, New York
1924 - 1926: Pennsylvanian Watercolor Club, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Collections
Albuquerque Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Arizona State University Art Museum, Nelson Fine Arts Center, Tempe, Arizona
Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio
Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas
Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis, Indiana
Harwood Museum of Art, University of New Mexico, Taos, New Mexico
Jonson Gallery, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
Nicholas Roercih Museum, New York, New York
Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, Utah
Oakland Museum, Oakland, California
Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas
Philadelphia Museum or Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts
Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, New Mexico
San Diego Museum of Art, Balboa Park, San Diego, California
Sangre De Cristo Arts Center, Pueblo, Colorado
Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, Indiana
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.
Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas
Court House, Taos, New Mexico
Department of Justice Building, Washington, D.C.
United States Post Office, Ranger, Texas

Work History
1951: Co-founder, Taos Artists Association, Taos, New Mexico
1941: Opened the Bisttram School of Fine Art, Phoenix, Arizona
1938: Co-founder, the Transcendental Painting Group, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1933: Supervisor, Treasury Relief Act Project, Taos Courthouse Mural Commission, New Mexico
1932: Opened Heptagon Gallery, Taos, New Mexico
1932: Founder, Taos School of Art, Taos, New Mexico
1923: Instructor, the Master Institute of the Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York, New York
1920 - 1925: Instructor, Parson’s School of Art and Design, New York, New York

Education
Art Student's League, New York, New York
Cooper Union, New York, New York
National Academy of Design, New York, New York
Parson's School of Art and Design, New York, New York

Awards
1931: Guggenheim Fellowship to study with Diego Rivera, New York, New York

Born
April 7, 1895, Hungary


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