Thursday, February 01, 2007

"South of Scranton" by Peter Blume (1931)

Peter Blume (American, born Russia, 1906–1992)
South of Scranton, 1931
Oil on canvas; H. 56, W. 66 in. (142.2 x 167 cm)
George A. Hearn Fund, 1942 (42.155)
© Estate of Peter Blume/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Image Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC

In addition to film and music, Scranton, Pennsylvania also has a history as inspiration of fine art, as depicted in Peter Blume's 1931 surrealist painting South of Scranton, which was inspired by a car trip he took here in the Spring of 1930.

Artist Peter Blume (1906-1992) was born October 27, 1906 in Smorgon, Russia; he and his family emigrated to the United States in 1911 and settled in New York City.

Burke died on November 30, 1992 in New York City. He studied art at the Educational Alliance Art School from 1919 to 1924, at the Art Students League of New York and at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design. He had his first one-man show in New York City in 1930.

Blume's art first gained fame and notoriety with the exhibition of his 1931 painting South of Scranton. Taking about a year and a half to complete, the painting was inspired by a car trip Blume took across Pennsylvania. Often stopping for repairs, Blume was inspired by the coal mines, locamotives and steel mills he encountered along his trip. He told reporters at the time, "I moved in my mind from Scranton to Bethlehem to Charleston.... Things lost their logical connection as they do in a dream."

South of Scranton was awarded first prize at the 1934 Carnegie International Exhibition; its selection for the prize evoked both harsh criticism and glowing praise from the art world. In 1942, South of Scranton won the second prize at the Artists for Victory Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. During World War II it was sent to the Tate Gallery in London by the U.S. Government as one of a group of outstanding works by living American artists.

Peter Blume died in New York City on Nov. 30, 1992.

South of Scranton is part of the Permanant Collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

No comments: